How does Dementia Progress?

Dementia is a progressive disease, all types of dementia are progressive. A person’s ability to remember, communicate, understand, express, problem solve, and reason gradually declines.

The speed at which it declines differs among people with dementia. There is no set speed or formula that maps out their decline. Factors such as emotional resilience, physical make-up, and most importantly available support.  Understanding dementia as a series of stages can be useful, this provides a rough guide.

Stage 0 – No Impairment: The person has no significant memory loss, is fully oriented, normal judgement and problem-solving ability and able to carry out their normal daily routine. There is no impairment in their abilities. The person is fully capable of self-care.

Stage 0.5 – Questionable Dementia: The person is fully oriented but may have minor inconsistencies with their memory. There is slight impairment noted in their social interaction, intellectual interest, interest in hobbies and ability to solve problems and make a judgement. The person is fully capable of self-care.

Stage 1- Mild Dementia: The person has moderate memory loss, experiences moderate difficulty with orientation, handling problems and functioning independently at activities. The person needs prompting with their personal care. Their social judgement is maintained and is still engaged in some activities.

Stage 2 – Moderate Dementia: The person has severe difficulty with remembering, orientation, handling problems, and social judgement. Complicated tasks are abandoned, only highly learned material is retained, and simple tasks are preserved.  The person requires assistance in hygiene and grooming.

Stage 3 – The person has severe memory loss,  unable to make judgements or solve problems. Appears too ill to be taken to functions and is oriented to only a person. The person needs much help with personal care, hygiene, and grooming.

If your loved one is at 0.5 or higher you must seek professional help.


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