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The Seven Dementia Stages

Stage 1 : No Cognitive Decline

  • In this stage the person functions normally, has no memory loss, and is mentally healthy.  People with NO dementia would be considered to be in Stage 1

Stage 2 : Very Mild Cognitive Decline

  • This stage is used to describe normal forgetfulness associated with aging; for example, forgetfulness of names and where familiar objects were left.  Symptoms are not evident to loved ones or the physician.

Stage 3 : Mild Cognitive Decline

  • This stage includes increased forgetfulness, slight difficulty concentrating, decreased work performance.  People may get lost more often or have difficulty finding the right words.  At this stage, a person’s loved ones will begin to notice a cognitive decline.  Takes an average of 7 years before full onset of Dementia at this stage.

Stage 4 : Moderate Cognitive Decline

  • This stage includes difficulty concentrating, decreased memory of recent events, and difficulties managing finances or traveling alone to new locations.  People have trouble completing complex tasks efficiently or accurately and may be in denial about their symptoms.  They may also start withdrawing from family or friends, because socialization becomes difficult.  At this stage a physician can detect clear cognitive problems during a patient interview and exam.  Average time of stage = 2 years.

Stage 5 : Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline

  • People in this stage have major memory deficiencies and need some assistance to complete their daily activities.  Examples: Dressing, Bathing, Preparing meals).  Memory loss is more prominent and may include major relevant aspects of current lives; for example, people may not remember their address or phone number and may not know the time or day or where they are.  Average time of stage = 1.5 years.

Stage 6 : Severe Cognitive Decline

  • In Stage 6 people with dementia require extensive assistance to carry out daily activities.  They start to forget names of close family members and have little memory of recent events.  Many people can remember only some details of earlier life.  They also have difficulty counting down from 10 and finishing tasks.  Incontinence (loss of bladder or bowel control) is a problem in this stage.  Ability to carry on a conversation declines.  Personality changes, such as delusions (believing something to be true that is not), compulsions (repeating a simple behavior, such as cleaning), or anxiety and agitation may occur.  Average time of stage = 2.5 years.

Stage 7 :  Final Stage of Dementia

  • People in this stage have essentially no ability to speak or communicate.  They require assistance with most activities (e.g., using the toilet, eating).  They often lose psycho-motor skills, for example, the ability to walk.  Average time of stage = 2.5 years.

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