Among the first questions in most people’s minds when a loved one is diagnosed with dementia is what to expect throughout the dementia progression. We know that the hallmark of dementia is the gradual decline in cognitive abilities and also the skills necessary to take care of daily life. However, each person advances through these changes at a different pace. There are lots of factors that can affect the rate of decline in dementia progression, including:
- Prescription drugs your loved one is taking
- Overall health and physical makeup
- The circle of support available
- The individual’s general emotional wellbeing and resilience
There are also other determinants to take into account based upon the specific type of dementia diagnosed. For instance:
- MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment): Mild cognitive impairment impacts up to 20% of seniors. More than the typical minor cognitive decline experienced in aging, MCI involves difficulties with language, thinking, judgment, and memory that are apparent to the senior individually and often to others as well. Researchers discovered that about 38% of seniors with MCI later developed dementia. The other 62% never progressed further than MCI – and in some cases, their condition actually improved, for unidentified reasons. Signs of MCI include forgetfulness, depression, impulsiveness, anxiety, apathy, irritability and aggression, and others.
- Vascular Dementia: Because vascular dementia is a result of a blockage in blood flow to the brain, the kind of blockage will affect the advancement of the disease. If small blood vessels are blocked, for instance, the decline will typically occur gradually. Major blood vessel blockage may cause a rapid onset of symptoms, accompanied by intense periods of change thereafter.
- Lewy Body Dementia: Lewy body dementia progression may be gradual, but might also include widely differing levels of attention and alertness in the early stages. One day may find a senior loved one lucid, while the following day – or even several hours later – could bring hallucinations, confusion, and memory loss. In the late stages of the disease, restlessness, agitation, aggression, tremors, and stiffness become more common.
- Frontotemporal Dementia: Unlike other forms of dementia, short-term memory is frequently not impacted in the early stages of frontotemporal dementia. Instead, early symptoms include behavioral changes, such as distraction, apathy, rudeness, and disregard for social norms. As the disease advances, problems with language become noticeable as well, along with memory loss, vision problems, and other typical symptoms observed in Alzheimer’s disease.
Contact the dementia care team at Home Sweet Home In-Home Care for more informative resources to help you better understand dementia progression and better care for someone you love with Alzheimer’s. We are also always here to help with compassionate, creative care to help make life more fulfilling for a senior loved one with dementia, and also to help family members achieve a better life balance. Call us at (866) 229-2505, or (269) 373-5444 in Kalamazoo, (269) 763-5350 in Paw Paw, (269) 849-9252 in St. Joseph, and (269) 963-9888 in Battle Creek to learn more about why we’re the top provider of home health services in Portage, MI and nearby Michigan communities. For a full list of the communities we serve, please visit our Locations page.