Does anyone know the stages of dementia, and how to differentiate between the stages?

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I have researched dementia, and the stages, but find it difficult to understand, and how do you really know when your loved one has changed stages? Any info. on dementia or the different stages would be greatly appreciated. The more advice, the better. My mom has dementia. Diagnosed about 2 years ago. She is 61, and they say the dementia is an adverse affect of a mini-stroke she had suffered. I just want to understand about this disease as much as possible so I am able to help her, and also understand why she does certain things or repeats herself, and things of that nature. Thanks to all who reply, and if your also a caregiver then give your self a big pat on the back. You deserve it. It is a very trying, yet rewarding experience, and we all do it out of love for our family. Have a blessed day:)

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Thank you for the information. I, too, need to be reading up on all of this stuff. My mother in law has been diagnosed but my father in law keeps her under pretty tight observation. Only lately has he started bringing her over for me to "baby sit" while he goes out for club meetings. Bless him, he needs the time away.
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Stage 3 and 4 they still can handle quite a bit.
I purchased a clock that included the days of the week and painted the segment for Sunday Yellow (the pope's color) and Saturday Orange, a fun color.
The rest of the week is calm blue.
I placed a clock radio that turns itself on and off set to easy listening. If it is "on" it is day time. If it is "off" she belonged in bed.
I painted the microwave, washing machine and TV with puff paint Green for "Go" and red for "stop". Appliances that had 3 steps I wrote 1,2,3 on the appropriate buttons in green.
I removed the clear faucet handles on all the sinks and spray painted all the hot ones red and cold ones blue.
I removed her clothes dryer, and unplugged her stove to reduce the fire hazard.
I bought her an id bracelet and engraved her name and my cell phone on it.
Earlier I had a dog tag around her neck that had her home address so folks could guide her home.
I bought all her food precooked, so there was less risk of food poisoning.
I hired a weekly house keeper and a once a week 2-3 hour college student to take her out or help her around the garden. She would harvest the fruit on all the trees (Avocado, Mango, orange) and passed bags of fruit out to the neighbors everyday. This caused all the neighbors to know her well enough to guide her home from time to time.
I bought her clothes that would remind you of a uniform or the baby clothes called grananimals. She has 8 pairs of black stretch pants. 5 solid t-shirts and 5 pretty sweat shirts, one pretty sweater, one jacket. I threw everything else out so there were no more Christmas sweaters in July. Dressing was easy. One item from each bin.
She lived this way with no drivers license or car for 2 years. We saw her each day because she was in the neighborhood.
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By my best guess, my mother is in stage 3. Her short term memory is horrible. She can't remember what you just said to her, she asks the same question over and over and she can not learn new skills. If she buys a new telephone for example, teaching the new functions is impossible. She can still cook, drive, pay bills, and shop. She has appointments listed all over her calendar, she uses a small grease board by her telephone to remind herself to call for anything she has going on. Her short term memory has declined rapidly in the last year and a half. She gets confused with a lot of information which is why she can't learn something new. Even going to the doctor with her, she can't remember what the dr. told her. I have noticed that people she had a short term association with ten years ago, she doesn't know who they are such as a person who went to her church for 5 years then left, she won't recognize their name if you ask her about them.
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Because the progression of dementia is at a glacial pace it is hard to see the changes until you do something to mark time. This can be helpful or it an be frightening. You pick. I printed the traditional 7 steps and placed them in a folder. I take it out about once every 6 months and place the date next to the step my mom is in. It is indeed progressive and there is change. Once I am convinced she is in the midst of the next stage I print out the characteristics of that stage and send it out to moms siblings and to mine, in hopes that they catch on and check in before she is unreachable for the kind of relationship they value.
Sometimes people who have not seen mom for a long time notice and show me a shocked face that lets me know she has changed more than I have noticed.
I usually look for some indicator in the next stage which will tell me to check in again. Last time it was dressing. This time it will be feeding. Some signs show up, some don't. Many of my friends folks have gone through the repeated stories stage. Luckily, we skipped that,as I find that the most intrusive. The identifier that I have found illusive because she can fake it, is all the ones about recognizing faces and names.
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Ahh dementia. Dementia is a maze whereby you think you are just beginning to understand it, and work with it, then you realise you haven't a clue.
My understanding is limited, scientifically I know that protein, strinkage of an area or areas of the brain is involved, neurons, synapses and bleeding are contributing factors but its presentation varies so much. I have seen my Mother go from advance dementia to mild and vice-versa. Anxiety increases her dementia, othertimes I can talk to her like normal. My dad had bilateral cortisal bleeding and I was told he experienced brain damage,similar to a stroke and that he would not get better. Two months later he is so much better. So I can only say, that there is so much confusion in the medical profession and so much in the caring profession as well as the lay mans knowledge. Perhaps dementia cannot be clearly defined as it presents so differently. Until the brain is fully understood, I believe we will have to carrying on guessing.
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kellyb,

Here are a few articles that will help you learn more about dementia.

How To Know If Your Parent Has Dementia
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/warning-signs-of-dementia-to-look-for-139753.htm

The Main Kinds of Dementia
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/different-forms-of-dementia-138582.htm

Dreams and Past Events: What is Reality for People With Dementia?
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/What-is-Reality-for-Dementia-Patients-133766.htm

The Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/Stages-of-Alzheimers-disease-118964.htm

Hope you learn more about what you are looking for with dementia. Sorry about your mom being diagnosed with dementia. I hope AgingCare.com is a great place to meet and connect with other caregivers that are going through the same things you are.

Karie H.
AgingCare.com
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You don't really know when your loved one changes stages. At least I don't. You may gradually realize that she is no longer in early stage and that her symptoms have become more severe. But it is not like you can say on Tuesday "she is stage 3" and on Wednesday you can say "she is stage 4."

Alzheimer's has been studied thoroughly and it appears to move through identifiable stages. You can easily find descriptions of the stages online. But not everyone with AD will go through all the stages in the exact way they are described on lists, and the duration of the stages is highly variable.

Your mother, however, apparently has Vascular Dementia rather than Alzheimer's. While reading about the stages of AD may be helpful in a general way, realize that what you are reading may not apply to your mother at all. Different types of dementia are, well, different!

My husband is in his 9th year with Lewy Body Dementia. That disease is often described as a roller coaster, progressing in fits and starts rather than a gentle consistent down-hill ride. I can tell you that most of those years were in early stage or mild dementia and that now I would describe it as moderate. But there are no guidelines to say he is in "stage 3" or "stage B," and such a concept is not meaningful in caring for him.

I think that you are really on the right track to try to learn all you can about your mother's particular kind of dementia. I don't think you are going to find specific guidelines about stages, but you will learn lots of other very useful information. Bless you for wanting to do this for your mother!
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