By Michelle Goetz, Project Coordinator
Dementia is a syndrome or disease, which includes a deterioration of memory, cognitive skills, and the ability to perform everyday activities.
While dementia often has a flux of symptoms, it generally has seven stages, often broken down into mild (early-stage), moderate (middle-stage), and severe (late-stage). The stages range from no cognitive decline to very severe cognitive decline. The personal and financial toll it can cause is often devastating. However, the more you learn about dementia and get support, the easier it is to cope with it.
While dementia is an individualized experience, in middle-stage dementia, you may notice some signs of:
- Sleep difficulties,
- Hallucinations or delusionary thoughts,
- Trouble getting dressed or bathed,
- Increasing frustration or angry outbursts,
- Incontinence, or even
- Greater memory loss.
The middle stages of dementia are typically the longest, most difficult, and can last for many years. As dementia progresses, the person will require a greater level of care since damage to the brain is slowly increasing, making it more difficult to perform routine and daily tasks.
It is important to remember that the person is an adult and should retain a level of self despite their losses they may be suffering at that moment from the disease. Your approach such as establishing a support system and creating necessary legal documents (perhaps power of attorney for financial or medical decisions) can make a tremendous difference in their quality of life. Someone in the middle stages of dementia could suddenly have a great moment, hour, or day, and then go back to having obvious signs of diminished cognitive skills. They aren’t doing it on purpose.
These are resources that might be of interest to you:
- Alzheimer’s association webpage on middle Stage Caregiving
- Mid-Stage Dementia and what might you expect
- Stages of dementia, website resource
- 3-stages of dementia and what to expect, a website resource