Dementia is a cognitive disorder which impairs a patient’s ability to think and reason. It occurs when parts of the brain used for reasoning, learning, memory, and decision making become diseased or damaged.
Dementia is not a disease. Instead, it is a term used to refer to a set of symptoms linked to the failure in one’s mental ability to perform regular tasks.
Stages of dementia
There are seven stages of dementia based upon the particular area of the brain that is affected.
- No impairment
At this stage, a person’s medical tests will report a problem. However, patients will not experience any visible symptoms of cognitive decline.
- Very mild decline
This stage may cause slight changes in behavior. For instance, one may start forgetting where they placed some objects.
- Mild decline
The third stage is associated with some changes in reasoning and thinking. Patients may find it difficult to remember names, make plans, recollect recent events, etc. They may also develop anxiety in social settings.
- Moderate decline
At this stage, a person will find it difficult to perform some math problems or deal with financial tasks, such as paying bills. They may also start losing memories of their personal history.
- Moderately severe decline
At this point, the symptoms become quite noticeable to others. The affected person will have trouble recalling their phone number, names of the family members, time of the day, etc. They may also require assistance with everyday functions such as choosing the appropriate clothes to wear.
- Severe decline
This stage of dementia is characterized by visible changes in the personality, behavior, and eating and sleeping patterns of the patient. They may require assistance with going to the restroom or while eating.
- Very severe decline
This is the last stage of dementia where the patient will no longer be able to respond to their environment as well as to the people around them. They won’t be able to express themselves, walk, speak or eat. Patients will spend most of their time in bed.
Tips to manage dementia effectively
There is no cure for most types of dementia. However, patients can manage their symptoms in the following ways:
- Patients should take care of their physical health through regular exercise, sufficient rest, and consumption of a well-balanced diet.
- Consult a medical expert who has considerable experience in treating depression and other mental health issues.
- Take medications regularly as prescribed by the doctor.
- Abstain from the consumption of alcohol.
- Communicate with loved ones and share feelings.
- Keep a written schedule book to track appointments, tasks, and medication timetables.
- Join a dementia support group to connect with others and learn more about the illness.
These steps will help patients manage their symptoms and reduce agitation.