A pretty bad tumble – The Seven Stages of Dementia

She hurried me out that day. She had things she wanted to do, an outing with her sorority sisters and dinner out. They would be there a little later.

All day seemed off though. After a serious call from her daughter she just seemed off. She had a time with her medicines and then she wanted to sit in her chair a while before a shower. She never sits in the chair before her shower.

I remind her of her outing, and that cheers her up. She becomes excited and lucid again. She slips off to the shower, and I run around like a mad man straightening the house out. Paper everywhere, little notes, and store flyers to sort and make sense of. I am so happy she’s back if only for now.

I set her pill box up like normal, and she emerges from her room, clean and fresh. She begins to carry on about her sisters and how she loves to be social and wants to never lose that. I promise to help her keep it with everything I know. Shoes now on, she wants to watch her show before she needs to go.

My time is done, and its hurry hurry out. She wants to get herself together for her girls. I am joyful feeling that this is the thing that brings her back to us. Independence through society.

Later that night I get a call. She has taken a pretty bad tumble. I need to be with her overnight and through the next day. I pack a bag, and I pull myself together.

I’m scared. I bet so is she. It’s going to be a long night.

My poor Mary.

 

The Seven Stages of Dementia:

From: https://www.dementia.org/stages-of-dementia

“By identifying the earliest stages of dementia as they occur, you may be able to seek medical treatment quickly and delay the onset of later stages. Though most cases of dementia are progressive, some may be reversible, and sometimes dementia-like conditions may be caused by treatable underlying deficiencies or illnesses. The more aware you are of these stages, the quicker you will be able to react and seek help, either for yourself or for a loved one.”

 

There are seven distinct stages of dementia. They are progressive and do not happen all at once. Most cases of dementia are treatable, but are not curable. If we can identify the people who are in the earliest stages of dementia, we have a better chance of slowing the progression, and extending life spans.

The Seven Stages of Dementia are:

Stage 1: No Cognitive Decline

Also known as “Normal Functioning Stage” Patient shows no cognitive impairment at this stage. Stages 1-3 are often known as “Pre-Dementia”.

 

Stage 2: Age Associated Memory Impairment

This stage is where there are occasional lapses of memory. These lapses could be mistaken as normal age related cognitive decline. Most often patients forget where they left their keys, or forgetting names that were once very familiar. Very mild cognitive decline, resembling normal age related decline.

 

Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Impairment

Clear cognitive problems begin to manifest in stage 3. A few signs of stage 3 dementia include:  Getting lost easily, noticeably poor performance at work, forgetting the names of family members and close friends, Difficulty retaining information read in a book or passage, Losing or misplacing important objects, and Difficulty concentrating.

Anxiety and frustration are common at this stage. Patients should seek a medical consultation at this stage.

 

Stage 4: Mild Dementia

At this stage the patent will start to become withdrawn and show changes in personality and mood. The patient may be in denial, as this is very common in stage 4.

Behaviors like decreased knowledge of current and/or recent events, difficulty remembering things about one’s personal history, decreased ability to handle finances, arrange travel plans, etc., disorientation, difficulty recognizing faces and people are common.

In stage 4 patients have no problem remembering familiar faces and familiar places. The patent may begin to withdraw from situations that take them into unfamiliar experiences.

 

Stage 5: Moderate Dementia

At this stage the patent may need help with activities of daily living. The main sign for stage 5 dementia is the inability to remember major details such as the name of a close family member or a home address. Patients may become disoriented to time and place, and forget basic information about themselves like their telephone number.

At this stage patents usually do not need help with elimination or eating and may still remember their own names and close relatives, though the cognitive decline is severe.

 

Stage 6: Moderately Severe Dementia

At this stage patients begin to forget close relatives, caregivers and familiar faces. Commonly, they can be unaware of their surroundings, cannot recall recent events, and can have skewed memories of their personal past.

Caregivers and loved ones should watch for: Delusional behavior, obsessive behavior and symptoms, anxiety, aggression, and agitation, and loss of willpower. Patients will wander and have problems sleeping. Patients will now need full time care.

 

Stage 7: Severe Dementia

At this stage the brain seems to lose connection to the body. The patient will lose the ability to speak or verbally communicate. The patient will need help walking, eating and elimination. The patient needs full time qualified nursing care. This stage is commonly the most painful of the stages as the patient slowly withdraws completely.

 

She will be ok. And so will I.

Is it time to talk about a night shift? Maybe some assistive devices? I think once she visits her primary care physician we will find out.

Until then, Mary, you got arm candy girl!

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