The stages of dementia

The term dementia is fairly familiar to everyone and everyone knows that dementia can be linked to forgetfulness, but what exactly is dementia and how does the disease progress?

What is dementia?

Dementia is actually another word for a brain disorder with symptoms: cognitive decline (deterioration in learned knowledge such as language problems, problems with actions, memory problems, etc.), behavioral changes, emotional changes and character change. There are different types of dementia and they all have one thing in common. Due to changes in the brain, the brain cells can no longer function properly and will eventually die.

different phases

The 1st phase, Early dementia:

This phase is difficult to distinguish from age-related forgetfulness or too much stress or busyness. This phase often lasts 1 to 2 years. The symptoms are so vague and are not recognized by the person themselves. Some early symptoms are:

    • Lethargy
    • Less initiative
    • Less active participation in social life
    • Forgetting names and words
    • Telling things twice
    • Losing things

Ultimately, in the initial phase, people with dementia become increasingly unable to respond to new situations and organize things. Relatives increasingly have to step in to support this person. Often the people in question do not see this or simply do not want to see it.

2nd phase:
Progressive dementia: it is now becoming really clear that the person in question suffers from dementia and this person needs more and more help. It is therefore wise to engage home care or a babysitting service. This phase lasts about 2 to 3 years and over time the need for help increases. Professional care is required. Showering, dressing and carrying out daily tasks are becoming increasingly difficult. These people are also not always understood properly because they mix up words or because the entire sentence structure is different. Sleeping also comes with a lot of restlessness. In healthcare institutions they can treat this person well. When someone is restless, sensors immediately detect this and help can be provided to help this person sleep again. Ordinary items such as a knife, cups and towels are no longer recognised. Short-term memory may deteriorate, but long-term memory is not as affected. This causes people to suddenly talk about something from the past as if they experienced it yesterday. In this phase, people with dementia no longer have a good insight into time. They come to regard the past as the present. Standards of decency are disappearing. The loved ones of the person in question are no longer recognized. This is a painful phase for the family. At first the symptoms of dementia could be denied, but now this person really has to accept it, even though it is difficult to accept. From now on, a nursing home can no longer be avoided.

This is a phase in which people with dementia no longer feel safer in their environment. Because they lose things, they think someone has stolen it.

3rd phase:

It is necessary that a person with dementia is placed in a nursing home in this phase when their loved ones are no longer able to provide good care. People with dementia in the 3rd phase show behavioral changes that are no longer manageable, are no longer able to care for themselves and care problems often cause problems for their loved ones. It simply becomes too heavy and in this phase the safety of the person with dementia and the environment is at risk. Because of the unexpected emotions that can suddenly turn from cheerful to anger that is expressed in violence. People with dementia often get lost in their own world.

However, the unrest is subsiding. In this phase, people with dementia are often relaxed. The feeling of threat disappears. An example of this is that a person with dementia has a goal and wants to achieve it. The person with dementia walks to his goal and in the meantime he forgets his goal and walks back to achieve a newly invented goal. The person with dementia now walks back and forth all the time and there is no longer any threat because it is forgotten too quickly. What struck me in Stellinghaven is that a number of residents indeed walk back and forth all the time. The expression on their faces is satisfied.

A person with dementia in the third phase starts to live more and more in the past and sees the future as the past. Standards of decency are also disappearing. In this phase, people with dementia actually enjoy physical contact such as a hug. It is important that you make eye contact with the dementia patient in this phase and have a smile or a positive facial expression. For example, a person with dementia will know that things are going well because these people do not understand or understand everything you say.

A positive facial expression or a positive/cheerful sound is recognizable to them and sometimes says enough for them.

4th phase, final stage:

During this phase, physical functions also deteriorate. Often these people end up just lying in bed. People who are still mobile enough to walk are often more likely to fall. A fall can accelerate the disease process. Because the person with dementia often just lies down in this phase, everything stiffens even more. The appetite decreases and drinking is also difficult. This causes resistance to deteriorate and the chances of infections increase. Swallowing problems arise, which only makes eating and drinking even more difficult. The person with dementia has now entered a phase where everything stops working. A person with dementia often does not die from the dementia itself, but from the complications of dementia. For example infections. This phase can sometimes last up to ten years.

Similar Posts