Home Mind & Brain 7 Stages of Dementia Before Death: Understanding the Progression of the Disease

7 Stages of Dementia Before Death: Understanding the Progression of the Disease

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Dementia is a devastating condition that affects millions of people worldwide, causing a decline in cognitive function and impacting the ability to perform everyday tasks. It is a progressive disease that affects a person’s memory, thinking, behaviour, and overall quality of life.

Understanding the seven stages of dementia before death can help families and carers prepare for the changes that may occur and provide the best possible care for their loved ones during this difficult journey

Pre-dementia stage

The pre-dementia stage is the beginning of a long and challenging journey for those affected by the disease. During this stage, individuals may experience mild memory loss or difficulty finding the right words. They may also have trouble remembering recent events or people’s names, but they are still able to live independently and perform daily activities without assistance. It is important to note that these symptoms can be a sign of other health conditions, so it is essential to seek medical attention for an accurate diagnosis. A Long Island personal injury lawyer shares: “Not receiving an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan can be a cause of a personal injury case.”

In the pre-dementia stage, it is still possible to slow the progression of the disease and maintain cognitive function through lifestyle changes and medication. It is also a good time for individuals to make important decisions about their future care and to discuss their wishes with their family and loved ones.

Mild dementia stage

The mild dementia stage is a time of increasing difficulty for those affected by the disease. During this stage, individuals may have trouble remembering recent events or people’s names and may struggle to perform daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, and paying bills. They may also become disoriented in unfamiliar environments, causing them to become lost or confused. Mood swings are also common in the mild dementia stage, and individuals may experience changes in their personality and behaviour. Family and loved ones may notice that their loved one has trouble with decision-making, is more forgetful, and may become easily frustrated or agitated.

It is important for carers to provide a safe and supportive environment during this stage and to offer assistance with daily tasks as needed. Seeking medical attention and a comprehensive treatment plan can help to manage the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.

Moderate dementia stage

The moderate dementia stage is a time of significant decline for those affected by the disease. During this stage, individuals may require assistance with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, and eating. They may also have trouble recognising family and friends and may struggle with communication, becoming confused about time and place. Individuals in the moderate dementia stage may also experience changes in their sleep patterns and may become increasingly agitated or aggressive.

It is important for carers to provide a safe and structured environment during this stage, as individuals may become disoriented and wander. Medical attention and a comprehensive treatment plan can help to manage the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease, and it may also be necessary to consider in-home care or a move to a long-term care facility.

Moderately severe dementia stage

The moderately severe stage of dementia is a time of significant decline in cognitive function and daily abilities. During this stage, individuals may require full-time care and may have trouble communicating, even with close family members. They may also experience changes in behaviour, such as agitation and wandering, and may become incontinent. It is important for carers to provide a safe and structured environment during this stage, as individuals may become disoriented and wander.

Medical attention and a comprehensive treatment plan can help to manage the symptoms, but the progression of the disease cannot be stopped. It is also important to consider the emotional and physical well-being of the carer, as providing full-time care can be physically and emotionally taxing. It may be necessary to consider hiring professional in-home care or moving the individual to a long-term care facility.

Severe dementia stage

The severe dementia stage is a time of significant decline in physical abilities and daily functioning. During this stage, individuals may experience a decline in mobility and may no longer be able to eat and drink independently. Incontinence may also become an issue, and individuals may require help with all aspects of daily care, including bathing, dressing, and using the restroom. They may also experience changes in their sleep patterns and may become bedridden. It is important for carers to provide a safe and comfortable environment during this stage and to ensure that their loved one is receiving proper nutrition and hydration.

Medical attention and a comprehensive treatment plan can help to manage the symptoms, but the progression of the disease cannot be stopped. It is also important to consider the emotional and physical well-being of the carer, as providing full-time care can be physically and emotionally taxing. The end-of-life stage is rapidly approaching, and it is important for families and carers to begin planning for their loved one’s final days.

End-of-life stage

The end-of-life stage of dementia is a time of significant decline in health and daily functioning. During this stage, individuals may become bedridden and require 24-hour care, and may experience changes in their breathing and heart rate. They may also become less responsive to their surroundings and may experience changes in their sleep patterns. It is important for carers to provide a safe and comfortable environment during this stage and to ensure that their loved one is receiving proper nutrition and hydration.

Medical attention and a comprehensive treatment plan can help to manage the symptoms and ensure that the individual is comfortable during their final days. It is also important for families and carers to begin planning for end-of-life care, including discussions about advance directives, hospice care, and funeral arrangements. The end-of-life stage can be a difficult and emotional time, but it is important to remember that the individual with dementia is no longer suffering and is at peace.

Post-death stage

The post-death stage marks the end of the journey for those affected by dementia, as well as for their loved ones. This stage is a time for family and friends to grieve and remember their loved one, and to celebrate the life that they lived. It is important to allow yourself time to process your emotions and to seek support from friends, family, or a support group if needed.

This stage can also be a time to reflect on the lessons learned during the journey with dementia and to find ways to honour the memory of your loved one. Some families choose to make a donation to a dementia research organisation, or to volunteer their time in support of others affected by the disease. The post-death stage is a time of closure, but also a time to carry on the legacy of your loved one and to continue to make a positive impact in their memory.

Final thoughts

Dementia is a progressive disease that affects a person’s memory, thinking, behaviour, and ability to perform daily activities. Understanding the 7 stages of dementia before death can help families and carers prepare for the changes that may occur and provide the best possible care for their loved ones. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of dementia, it is important to seek medical attention to receive an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

It is a devastating disease that affects millions of people worldwide, and it is important to understand the progression of the disease so that we can provide the best possible care for our loved ones. By knowing the seven stages of dementia before death, we can better prepare for the changes that may occur and ensure that our loved ones are comfortable and well taken care of throughout their journey.




Adam Mulligan, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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