What Are The 7 Stages Of Dementia?

Did you know that there are 7 different stages of dementia?

This article will advise you on what to expect of your loved one's cognitive ability at each of the 7 stages.

7 Stages of Dementia - Global Deterioration Scale (GDS)

You will often hear dementia being described as early-stage, mid-stage or late-stage; but the GDS Scale breaks the stages down even further to provide a more detailed insight into the extent of cognitive decline in each stage.

The symptoms experienced in stages 1-3 are not significant enough to lead to a diagnosis of dementia, whilst those in stage 4 will be classified as having early-dementia, stage 5-6 mid-dementia and stage 7 late-dementia. The majority of people with dementia are diagnosed when they are in stage 4 of the GDS Scale.

Stage 1 - No cognitive decline (no dementia)

  • Normal function
  • Mentally healthy
  • No memory loss
  • No signs or symptoms

Stage 2 - Very mild cognitive decline (no dementia)

  • Forget names
  • Symptoms unrecognised to loved ones and GP's
  • Miss-place often used items

Stage 3 - Mild cognitive decline (no dementia)

  • Increased forgetfulness
  • Gets lost more often
  • Loved ones begin to pick up on it
  • Verbal repetition
  • Slight difficulty with concentrating
  • Work performance lower
  • Trouble with finding the right words
  • Lasts approximately 2-7 years

Stage 4 - Moderate cognitive decline (early-stage dementia)

  • Problems with concentration
  • Unable to manage their finances
  • Forgets recent events
  • Socialisation issues including withdrawing
  • Misplacing items
  • Trouble with completing tasks
  • Unable to travel solo to new places
  • In denial
  • Physician can detect cognitive issues
  • Lasts around 2 years

Stage 5 - Moderately severe cognitive decline (mid-stage dementia)

  • Requires assistance with personal care
  • Major memory problems
  • Becoming lost
  • Confusion
  • Doesn't know the time or date
  • Doesn't know where they are
  • Increased aggression
  • Lasts around 1.5 years

Stage 6 - Severe cognitive decline (mid-stage dementia)

  • Cannot look after themselves without support
  • Delusions
  • Forgets recent events
  • Personality and behaviour changes
  • Incontinence
  • Problems with sleeping
  • Forgets family members names
  • Anxiety
  • Forgets important events from the past
  • Compulsions
  • Difficulty with speaking
  • Lasts about 2.5 years

Stage 7 - Very severe cognitive decline (late-stage dementia)

  • Unable to speak or communicate
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Angry outbursts
  • Incontinence
  • Requires constant support
  • Unable to walk
  • Difficulty eating and swallowing
  • Last about 1.5-2.5 years

If you have a loved one who is living with dementia and you feel that it's time to seek support, please do get in touch with our friendly team or Care Advisers today.

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