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The stages of dementia are measured using the Global Deterioration Scale for Assessment of Primary Degenerative Dementia, more colloquially known as GDS or the Reisberg Scale. GDS breaks dementia down into seven distinct stages, each with its own characteristics and behaviors. The intention of such a system of measurement is to help better understand the process behind Alzheimer’s and to better help those who are suffering from the ailment. For instance, some individuals may experience no memory loss, while others are unable to recall the names or faces of loved ones. By gaining a more specific and well-defined understanding of how dementia progresses, we can create and seek out treatments that will be suited to their current mental state.
No Cognitive Decline
This first group acts as a baseline for a fully functional adult. The individual suffers no memory loss, has no degradation of ability, and can be completely independent. People in this stage would be considered to have no dementia.
Very Mild Cognitive Decline
Another stage with no dementia diagnosis, this level merely describes the expected effects of aging, particularly mild forgetfulness. The individual may briefly misplace everyday objects or forget the name of someone they haven’t seen in a while. These symptoms are rarely evident, either to a caregiver, a spouse, or even a doctor.
Mild Cognitive Decline
Though this stage does not include a diagnosis of dementia, it’s where the symptoms start to become evident to loved ones or doctors. The forgetfulness will generally increase, perhaps extending to names of people very close to them. They may also notice difficulty concentrating and a decrease in work performance. During conversation, they may have trouble finding the right words. Additionally they may end up getting lost in places they’ve been before.
Stage Four: Moderate Cognitive Decline
Stage four is considered to be the “early stage” of dementia. Concentration continues to decline, and memory loss may extend to recent events or conversations. Complex tasks like cooking or fixing a broken appliance become extremely difficult if not altogether impossible. While a physician may be better able to identify very distinct signs of cognitive decline during an interview and exam, the patient could be in denial about these symptoms. As things progress and socialization becomes increasingly painful, the individual may become withdrawn.
Stage Five: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline
Characterized as “mid-stage dementia,” level 5 is identified as major memory deficiencies; rather than forgetting the recent birth of a grandchild, people at this stage begin to forget basic tenets of information about their own life, such as phone number or social security number. In fact, they may not be able to recall what day, month, or year it is at the time of question. Individuals at this stage will need assistance with many of their day-to-day activities, such as bathing, dressing, and cooking.
Stage Six: Severe Cognitive Decline
This is still considered to be a part of mid-stage dementia but is when some of the more severe symptoms begin to emerge. Names of close loved ones or general associations are gone, as is any memory of their current lives – though they may still be able to recall portions of their early lives. Concentration and the ability to carry out simple tasks are heavily affected, as are speech patterns and bladder/bowel control. In addition to these afflictions, personality changes become more apparent, often showing up in the form of delusions, compulsions, anxiety, and agitation.
Stage Seven: Very Severe Cognitive Decline
This is considered to be “end-stage dementia.” Those who have reached this level have little to no ability to engage with life or communicate with those around them. Their speech and comprehension levels have deteriorated, and they need round-the-clock care. This is also the time when psychomotor skills vanish, necessitating wheelchairs or physical transportation.
By learning more about dementia’s early warning signs and treating the symptoms associated with each step we can hope to give those afflicted a better quality of life. Another way to do so is by providing your loved one and yourself with financial security through a life settlement. To learn more about how to turn an unneeded life insurance policy into a cash settlement, contact the professionals at Life Settlement Advisors today.
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