Dementia is a word most are familiar with, but few fully understand. The majority of people probably think of dementia as a condition that affects memory. While this is part of dementia, it’s not a full and accurate view of the disease. Dementia is actually a fatal disease for which there is no cure.
There are three primary stages of dementia and it’s best for people with older loved ones to be aware of all three stages to spot the early signs of the disease.
Early Stage- The first signs of early stage dementia are small memory lapses like frequently losing or misplacing things. They might also struggle to remember names or words in conversation. Many may try to write this off as a natural consequence of getting older, but if you notice these signs there are early treatment methods that might be beneficial.
Middle Stage- As dementia progresses, individuals will have trouble remembering where they are and what they’re doing. Planning and organizing their days will become increasingly harder as well. Changes in personality or sleep patterns are also very common for this phase.
Late Stage- Once they enter late stage dementia, the individual will require round the clock care. Taking care of themselves, dressing, and eating will all require the assistance of someone else. During this stage, they are also incredibly susceptible to infections and other diseases so keeping up proper hygiene is very important.
How Can Hospice Help?
Once a dementia patient reaches the point that they qualify for hospice care, there are many ways a trained hospice caregiver can help. Typically, in late stage dementia communication is very limited, so it can be hard to understand what the patient needs to be comfortable. Our staff is trained to understand and treat the needs of dementia patients. We can also help family members understand what their loved one is going through and how they can best offer support.