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Do People with Dementia Need Constant Care?

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Dementia is a complicated condition, often characterized by memory problems and cognitive decline. It can impact almost every aspect of a person’s life and poses unique challenges that can be difficult to meet at home. But do people with dementia need constant care, or can they remain independent to a certain point?

In the earlier stages, a person living with dementia can remain mostly independent in many cases. However, as the condition progresses, they’ll likely need more advanced care from a memory care community near you. This way, you can rest easy knowing that your loved one is in an environment that truly understands their challenges and unique needs to improve their quality of life.

What Is Dementia?

Dementia is a little more complicated than most people think. It’s not just a single condition. Rather, it’s a group of complex neurodegenerative disorders that affect the brain cells, eventually causing cognitive decline and memory impairment.

There are many different types of dementia, but they often have similar results—brain cells are damaged and begin to die off, leading to memory problems, personality changes, and more.

The common types of dementia include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease, making up roughly 60-80% of all cases
  • Vascular dementia, caused by reduced blood flow to the brain
  • Lewy-body dementia, characterized by the buildup of abnormal protein deposits in the brain
  • Mixed dementia, where several types of dementia showcase themselves simultaneously

These conditions are progressive, so symptoms worsen over time and call for professional care. It’s essential to learn to recognize the different stages of dementia. This way, you can step in to help a loved one get the care they need to maintain their quality of life.

The Stages of Dementia

It’s important to remember that dementia is extremely complicated, and should never be diagnosed from a distance. The earliest symptoms can easily be mistaken for age-related forgetfulness—dementia develops slowly and subtly in most cases. 

A person may forget a word here and there, or miss an important event. Don’t try to diagnose a person with this condition yourself. Instead, always speak to a healthcare professional if you’re worried about a loved one’s cognitive function.

There are typically 3 stages of dementia:

  • Early-stage
  • Middle-stage
  • Late-stage

Early-Stage Dementia

In the early stages of dementia, the symptoms are usually mild. They can easily be interpreted as a simple mistake here and there. Try to keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

  • Minor memory lapses
  • Difficulty finding words
  • Problems with planning or organizing
  • Losing track of the day or date
  • Forgetting a name or face

At the early stage of dementia, a person usually won’t need constant care. They can likely maintain a relatively independent lifestyle but may need some assistance here and there to keep up with some of their more complex tasks.

If you’re worried about a loved one’s memory or cognitive capabilities, you should schedule an appointment with an experienced healthcare professional to see if dementia is the culprit. If so, your loved one may benefit from a move to memory care. It can offer a home tailored to preserve their cognitive abilities in a supportive, loving environment.

Middle-Stage Dementia

As dementia progresses to the middle or intermediate stages, symptoms often worsen. At this point, they’ll begin affecting a person’s independence and quality of life.

Keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • Increased memory loss and confusion
  • Difficulty recognizing familiar faces
  • Significant communication abilities
  • Problems with daily activities like dressing and cooking
  • Changes in behavior and personality

If these symptoms sound familiar, it’s time to consider memory care to preserve your loved one’s cognitive abilities. While they may be able to function independently to some degree, these symptoms can significantly affect your loved one’s overall quality of life, and you should open the discussion about long-term care.

A senior woman and her daughter sitting on a couch drinking tea and talking about memory care.

Late-Stage Dementia

In the later stages of dementia, symptoms can be severe and have a noticeable effect on your loved one’s overall quality of life. Late-stage dementia often causes:

  • Severe memory loss, including the inability to recognize close family members
  • Loss of physical abilities, such as walking and swallowing
  • Significant changes in mood and behavior
  • Increased vulnerability to infections and other health issues

At this point, memory care is crucial. It can offer a way to maintain your loved one’s dignity and quality of life. With late-stage dementia, around-the-clock care is often required, and this can be difficult to achieve at home without professional support.

Is It Time for Memory Care?

If you have a loved one showcasing the signs of dementia—whether early, middle, or late—it’s time to consider memory care. And our community here at All American Assisted Living at Londonderry can help. 

We understand the challenges your loved one faces, and we’re here to meet their unique needs in a place that truly feels like home. Schedule a tour with us today!

Written by kaplan

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