Dementia Stages

At Sunrise, we are dedicated to providing communities that are safe, familiar, and stimulating to individuals with memory loss. Understanding the symptoms and stages of dementia is important for anyone who may be at risk for developing the condition. Early detection of dementia can help slow the progression of cognitive decline, increase overall quality of life, and aid in the caregiving process.

Understanding the Stages of Dementia

Researchers have identified three systems used to evaluate the different stages of the progression of dementia systems including the Global Deterioration Scale for Assessment of Primary Degenerative Dementia (GDS), the Functional Assessment Staging Test (FAST), and the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR).

Although there are questionnaires and tests available on the internet that may help to diagnose dementia, a doctor should administer a patient’s tests for an accurate diagnosis. This will determine not only which stage of dementia is present, but also which type of dementia. The CDR scale allows doctors and researchers to gauge a person’s ability to perform in different areas of cognition and functioning, including:

Early-Stage Dementia (CDR-1)

Early-stage dementia is characterized by mild impairment, which is a score of 1 on the Clinical Dementia Rating scale. While symptoms of early-stage dementia are mild, they are still typically noticeable to friends and family around them. It’s especially important as a family member or caregiver to keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

Mid-Stage Dementia (CDR-2)

A diagnosis of CDR-2 is equivalent to mid-stage dementia, which is slightly more impairment than early-stage dementia, but still characterized by moderate impairment. While there is no set timeline for how quickly or slowly someone transitions between dementia stages, signs of mid-stage dementia include:

Once your loved one’s memory loss progresses to mid-stage dementia, they will require more day-to-day care.

Late-Stage Dementia (CDR-3)

A diagnosis of CDR-3 is a determination that the symptoms associated with dementia have become more advanced. 24-hour care is generally required for those diagnosed with late-stage dementia. Symptoms of late-stage dementia typically include:

If your loved one has been diagnosed with CDR-3, the best way to care for them is to enlist the help of trained professionals. When looking for a person or place to care for your loved one with dementia, consider the quality of care as well as the environment and existing group dynamic.

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