Dementia is a progressive disease. Dementia is a disease that takes place in different stages.
There are roughly three phases that we can distinguish. These are the following stages;
- the early phase
- the middle phase
- late phase of dementia
Sometimes it is difficult to estimate in which phase someone is. There are also many different types of dementia, as you have read above. This makes it difficult to really define specific phases. Nevertheless, there are some things known about the various stages of dementia.
Early dementia phase
Dementia usually starts with small changes in behavior, functioning and personality. These changes can manifest themselves in memory problems, multiple small strokes or Tias, speech problems, depression, selfishness and numb behavior. All of the changes described can also be attributed to old age, a burn-out or another significant event in life. That is why making a diagnosis in the first phase is very difficult. It can also be due to other things. This phase is therefore often not recognized. Often this phase is already over when you determine dementia.
Middle phase of dementia
The changes do not disappear. They only get worse and expand. All daily actions become more difficult. Brushing teeth, driving, shopping, washing, dressing and other daily activities are more difficult. The person with dementia is becoming more and more dependent because it is not always possible to carry out actions that are normally self-evident. The informal carer is taking on more and more care tasks. In this phase it is often possible to make a diagnosis. A diagnosis often gives peace. However, it can also have a lot of impact on a person.
Late stage dementia
It often takes a long time, really years before this phase arrives. At this stage of dementia, the brain is so damaged that independent functioning is no longer possible. The person with dementia is totally dependent on the environment in this phase. A lot of care is required for dementia patients who are in this phase. Sometimes it is possible that the care is provided in the home situation with the help of informal carers, professionals and volunteers. Unfortunately, this is often not possible. The care involvement can be to big that home living is no longer possible and that admission to a care institution is really necessary for the safety of the person and their environment. It is, of course, in spite of this severe illness, a pleasant idea if you know that everything is well organized, especially in the final phase. That is why it is important to plan.
Life expectancy for dementia
It is very difficult to establish a specific life expectancy for someone with dementia. This is of course dependent on various factors. Does the person only have dementia or more disorders? How did dementia develop? Did the person have a cerebral infarction? There are all kinds off questions that arise, different factors that play a role. If these factors are known, it may be easier to determine the life expectancy of a person with dementia. However, this is and remains difficult to determine.
Unfortunately, we can not predict the future. In addition, they also do not know how a person is. Some people remain in a certain dementia phase for a long time, some people go through the dementia phases quickly. It really depends on the individual life expectancy of a person. Often it is that age can play a role. In addition, it is also difficult to determine on time in which phase someone is and how long. This makes it difficult to estimate how long life expectancy is.
It is very important to look carefully at the individual person at each stage. Each phase is also different. It is very important to observe each phase well. To look carefully at that moment. What kind of help is needed in that phase? How can I help the person with dementia at this stage? There are various agencies for this that you can supervise at every stage. Therefore, do not hesitate to ask for help. It is not bad to ask for this. It is a serious illness that has a lot of impact on both the person and the environment. The sooner you discover dementia, the earlier you or someone else can be helped! The recognition of the phases can therefore play a major role in the treatment of dementia. If dementia is detected at a patient in the first phase, sufficient tools and other techniques can still be used to delay the course of the dementia process.
You can do a dementia test on this website using a form with questions for family members and caregivers of suspected dementia patient, to map out any memory problems and cognitive decline in daily functioning. Read more about the test on Dementia test.