There are varying tests that can be done to predict the stage of dementia someone may be in. The Views Senior Living uses the GDS Scale (Global Deterioration Scale) which includes seven stages of dementia. This includes:
Stage 1: No cognitive decline (no dementia). This person would be showing no signs of memory loss or dementia and functions as normal.
Stage 2: Very mild cognitive decline (no dementia). This person may be considered forgetful which could be associated with normal aging. For example forgetting where you placed something or someone's name.
Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Decline. This would include increased forgetfullness, which may include getting lost while traveling to an unfamiliar location, not retaining material of what one has just read, remembering names after just being introduced to someone, decreased performance in work or social setting, and some anxiety may start to present itself.
Stage 4: Moderate Cognitive Decline (mild dementia)- decreased knowledge of current events, cannot remember some personal history, has difficulty doing serial subtractions, is having troubles handling finances, and may withdrawal from certain situations.
Stage 5: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline (Moderate Dementia)- They may not be able to recall aspects of current lives such as address, phone number, or name of close family members. They may also have some disorientation to time or place. This person may still recall there own name or spouse's name and can still use the bathroom unassisted and eat independently. They may need assistance choosing proper clothing dependent on weather.
Stage 6: Severe Cognitive Decline (Moderately Severe Dementia)- A person in this stage may start to forget their spouse and cannot recall recent events. They are not very aware of their surroundings like the year or season. Someone in this stage may have issues with mathematics such as counting backward starting at 10 and need assistance with ADL's (activities of daily living). Someone in this stage can typically still recall their name, but may start accusing caregivers of being an imposter or have delusions. Anxiety symptoms in this stage may start to present more frequently and my come in the form of agitation or violent behavior. Personality and mood changes may also take effect during this stage.
Stage 7: Very Severe Cognitive Decline (Moderately Severe Dementia)- Someone in this stage may no longer be verbal. They may be incontinent of bladder and could require assistance with eating & toileting. Late stages in the disease effect mobility and both walking and/or psychomotor skills typically become lost. Rigidity and neurological reflexes also present during this stage.
All individuals living with dementia are not symptomatic exactly the same. Each person may travel through the illness stages at a different pace and time. It is important to remember that needs may vary as not everyone follows the same course of the dementia disease. Also important to remember is that someone living with the disease can stay in the same stage for a very long time and live with the disease for 5-10 years. Reach out to a Views Senior Living community to find out how they can help you and your loved one transition through dementia and it's various stages.