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Preparing for the Different Stages of Dementia

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Dementia is unfortunately a deteriorative disease. There are ways to slow down its progress, but there is no way yet to freeze it in tracks. Many people don’t want to accept this, but it can be important to prepare for the different stages so that they are not as difficult. This post delves into the three stages of dementia and the preparation you should consider in each case.

Early stage dementia

Forgetfulness and speech issues are some of the first signs of dementia. A person with dementia may struggle to find certain words, forget appointments, forget belongings, get lost on familiar routes or struggle to keep up with conversations. That said, they are often still independent enough to care for themselves. Giving up work and driving may be recommended, but it’s important to not give up social activities and hobbies in order to continue enjoying life.

It’s during this stage that a person with dementia can help to plan for the future. It could be worth assigning a power of attorney – naming a designated person who can make decisions based on property, finances and medical care on one’s behalf. Writing a will is also recommended during this stage while one is compos mentis enough to legally sign such a document.

Mid stage dementia

During mid stage dementia, delusions and feelings of paranoia may start to set in. Orientation issues become more severe and a person may forget what time of the day it is or even feel lost in their own home. Speech can become more repetitive and personality changes may even occur. This can be a frightening stage in which a person needs a lot of support. A loved one or a carer may be needed to help with household chores, preparing meals, getting dressed and even washing.

At this stage, a person with dementia cannot make most decisions for themselves and someone else will need to manage their care. This care could be provided by loved ones, or professional carers who may come in for several hours per week. It’s worth exploring care options early. Meanwhile, you could explore memory aids and equipment to help your loved one with dementia retain some independence longer.

Late stage dementia

Those with late stage dementia eventually need full-time care. During this stage, people with dementia often return to their childhood – sometimes forgetting faces of their closest loved ones or confusing them for people they knew as a child. Speech can become much more limited, and some people may become non-verbal. This can be the most challenging stage to deal with as a loved one.

Care homes are a popular choice at this stage – providing care may become too physically and emotionally demanding for loved ones, while hiring at-home care may become quite expensive. Sites like this one for Ashberry care homes can help you do your research, although it’s worth visiting care homes in person too.

If you would prefer to care for them at home, consider changes you may be able to put in place to make things easier.

An important note on dementia

Dementia affects everyone differently and at different speeds. While some people can lose speech quite quickly within the early stage, others are still able to speak a lot until late stage dementia. It is best to find out exactly what type of dementia you or your loved one has to plan ahead effectively.

It’s also worth noting that not everyone reaches late stage dementia. Through medication and lifestyle choices, it may be possible to stretch out the early and mid stages to not have to deal with late stage dementia, though that depends on your age and general health.

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