A Quick Guide to the Stages of Dementia

August 24, 2016

Dementia is a terminal illness which affects 3 million people every year. It causes a decline in brain activity, increases confusion, speak difficulties, changes in personality, chronic anxiety, and acute depression.

It is crucial to understand that every person with Dementia experiences the illness differently, but it is also possible that patients may experience similar symptoms at the beginning of the disease to its end. The exact number of stages are not hundred percent similar for everyone, but they tend to be more or less the same.

The most common known system, introduced by Dr Barry Reisberg of New York University, breaks the development of Dementia disease into seven stages. Here is a quick guide to these stages of Dementia based on the concepts and theory provided by Dr Reisberg:

No Impairment

No impairment is the first stage where Dementia is not detectable. There is no evidence of memory problems or any other visible signs. The patient is easily able to perform their daily tasks without any apparent difficulty and goes through motions of life as a healthy individual.

Very Mild Decline

The second stage which is also known as very mild decline where minor memory problems may occur, or the possibility of losing things is somewhat usual, but not to the point where memory loss is clearly distinguishable.

The standard memory loss of dementia which is extreme in nature from this initial phase of memory loss as lost things can be found quite easily when looked for.

In this stage, the patient may even perform quite well on a memory test. This stage of Dementia is very unlikely to be detected by physicians.

Mild Decline

In this third stage of mild decline in the stages of Dementia, friends and family members may start to notice memory and personal problems.

The performance of memory is affected, and physicians may be able detect impaired mental and cognitive functions, albeit mild.

Some of the common problems faced by the patient during this stage may be finding the right words to use during a conversation, having trouble remembering the name of an acquaintance and losing personal possessions frequently.

Moderate Decline

Moderate decline is the fourth stage of Dementia where clear symptoms start to appear at this point. The patient will possibly have difficulty with simple arithmetics; it is possible that they will start forgetting about their life histories.

Patients at this stage have a high tendency to suffer from poor short-term memory loss, and they are unable to manage their general finances and bills. A number of daily tasks will start becoming more difficult, and individuals at this stage will frequently forget what they were about to do, or what they went to the kitchen to fetch, for example.

Moderately Severe Decline

This is the fifth stage of dementia known as moderately severe decline where the patient will need help with many day-to-day activities. They will experience a state of confusion on a regular basis.

These patients will have a hard time coping with life, and will be completely unable to recall simple details about themselves; they will also face difficulty while performing minor tasks as dressing themselves.

However, it is possible that even at this stage of the illness the patient will be able to know their family members.

Severe Decline

Severe decline is when Dementia patients will require constant supervision and they may need a professional care at all times.

At this stage, the patients will become completely unaware of their surroundings, and go through major personality changes due to the frustration of not being able to lie normally.

At this stage, the patient will require assistance and guidance with major as well as mundane activities. It is entirely possible that the patient will lose the ability to recognise faces, even of the closest family members including their own children.

Very Severe Decline

Very severe decline is the final stage of Dementia. Dementia is a terminal illness and the patients at this juncture are close to their deaths.

The patient will lose the ability to respond or maintain any awareness to the surrounding. They may lose their capacity to communicate altogether, and it is very likely that they would not be able to ingest or swallow their food.


The above mentioned are the 7 main stages of dementia. As the illness increases over a period of time, the patients will require a greater amount of vigilance, care and support from their caretakers and loved ones.

Patients will also become easily agitated, depressed, dejected and it will often be painful for children to see their old parents staring into space for hours, and often failing to recognise them.

There are many ways to help patients with dementing illnesses by creating a calm, loving and understanding environment around them, which would, at the very least, delay the effects of dementia.

Author Bio:

Alma Causey is a blogger by choice.  She loves to discover lives and world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs.

Find her on Twitter:@Almacausey

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