Auburn, NH Blog

The 7 Stages of Memory Loss Explained In Auburn, NH

Making any type of care decision for a loved one who is exhibiting signs of memory loss or dementia, common symptoms of Alzheimer's disease can be challenging. It's important that you understand how dementia progresses, which will help you choose the right type of Alzheimer's care for your loved one.

According to a 2017 study conducted by the Alzheimer's Association:

  • 16.1 million family members/friends spent 18.4 billion unpaid hours caring for those with many forms of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.
  • Costs of this care were in excess of $232 billion.
  • 86 percent have been providing care for at least one year.
  • 50 percent have been providing care for at least four years.

The Reisberg Scale

Dr. Barry Reisberg of the New York University developed a scale used to determine the various stages of dementia. However, your loved one's doctor will perform a series of examinations and tests to determine what stage they are at.

Stage 1 – Normal

Your loved one will not have any issues with dementia, memory loss, behavior or moods.

Example: Not only is Joe still sharp and can remember the slightest detail and he is very active.

Stage 2 – Mild

Your loved one might be starting to some signs of memory loss, such as forgetting where they left their keys, reading glasses, names, and appointments.

Example: Joe is still able to do his job but tends to forget names and places.

Stage 3- Mild Cognitive Impairment

Those around your loved one will start seeing signs of advancement such as significant memory loss. While Alzheimer's care is not necessary at this time, testing should be considered.

Joe is still trying to keep up with everything he is used to doing, but his memory is visibly starting to slip, which upsets him.

Stage 4 – Moderate Dementia

At this stage, also referred to as mild Alzheimer's, daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and shopping become challenging without help. More significant and noticeable memory loss occurs and may cause difficulties with speech such as having a hard time finding the right words to use. Other symptoms include:

  • Withdrawal from social interaction
  • Entering a state of denial
  • Avoidance of situations where conversation is needed such as ordering from a menu.

Example: Joe has started to need more help with daily tasks and has started to withdraw from family and friends.

Stage 5 – Moderately Severe Dementia

Frequent assistance with daily life will be needed and your loved one will have a hard time living independently. Memory loss is more pronounced as they can no longer remember names, phone numbers, and other important information. They may have issues dressing for the weather, paying bills, and eating healthy meals.

Example: Joe was wearing his winter coat even though it was 80 degrees outside. He has trouble remembering his address or phone number.

Stage 6 – Severe Dementia

At this stage, full-time Alzheimer's care becomes necessary for most patients. Help is needed for things like bathing, dressing, and toileting. Memory loss can lead to wandering, forgetting people's names, and getting lost. Behavioral and emotional changes may occur, leading to hostility or paranoia.

Example: Joe's behavior is starting to worry loved ones who start cutting back on visits by his friends. His behavior can be embarrassing, affecting the way people see him.

Stage 7 – Very Severe Dementia

When reaching this stage, your loved one will require around the clock Alzheimer's care. Typical issues include the inability to move, eat, and talk. Other symptoms include the inability to communicate, loss of motor control and a being unaware of people and surroundings.

Example: Joe isn't himself anymore, you wouldn't recognize him mentally or physically. Thankfully, he has excellent Alzheimer's care specialist to help.

In Conclusion

If you notice any of the above behaviors in your loved one, be sure you reach out to their primary physician about the testing process and getting started. Early detection makes it easier to manage how the disease progresses and gives you time to look into professional Alzheimer's care services such as living with family, in-home nursing care, or a full-time facility.

For more information about dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and living assistance contact Visiting Angels of Auburn and request a free in-home consultation.

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.