Dementia progression: These are the three stages of nerve deathPlease highlight the appropriate words in the text. With just two clicks you can report the error to the editors.
Colorbox.de dementia patients are more or less dependent on the support of their family, depending on the course of dementia.
Around 1.6 million people in Germany suffer from dementia. Most associate the disease with forgetfulness. But other symptoms can also occur, depending on the stage of the disease. FOCUS Online explains the course of dementia.
With advancing age, the probability of developing dementia increases. But how can you tell early on that someone around you is affected, or how far the deterioration has already progressed? FOCUS Online explains the three stages of dementia.
The disease can go undetected for up to ten years. But if you are alert and sensitive to the symptoms, you can notice dementia at an early stage. This is not only important for the patients themselves, but also for their relatives, who can better adapt to the challenges ahead if they know and understand the stages of dementia
Dementia progression: Early stage
At the beginning, dementia is difficult to distinguish from senile forgetfulness. The affected person misplaces objects more often or has word-finding problems. These symptoms can be easily masked. But be careful: If you notice any of these symptoms in a relative, you should talk to a doctor.
– The affected person finds it harder to cope in familiar surroundings such as the supermarket around the corner or even in his own home. – They make mistakes with everyday tasks. For example, he forgets to salt the soup or can no longer fill out transfers correctly. – At the end of a newspaper article, he no longer knows what occurred at the beginning. Or the person affected cannot follow the news on TV. This indicates concentration difficulties. . They used to find their way from the toilet in the restaurant back to their seat effortlessly, now this is a problem. – Lack of desire and drive can also be symptoms of the disease.
In the early stage of dementia, those affected can still do some things themselves. However, relatives should look to the future. Heinz Unger, chief physician at the evangelical hospital in Kalk, recommends talking to the affected person about financial matters in good time: "Ask where he needs help, whether he can still make his transfers on his own." An offer of help would be a good approach to the ie. If the disease is progressing, it's good if the person has already signed a power of attorney – talk about it too.
Another important ie is the mobility of the affected person. Whether a dementia patient can still drive a car in the early stages varies from case to case, the expert emphasizes. He recommends arranging a test session at a driving school. Some schools offer special trial classes for dementia patients. After that, the driving instructor can assess how fit the affected person still is to drive, for example, whether he should no longer drive further than to the grocery store. The affected person should repeat the test every six months.
If dementia continues to progress, you should make sure that the person with the disease is no longer driving at all. The dementia guide from FOCUS Online informs those affected about the disease. Supports relatives in dealing with dementia patients. What are the causes of dementia. How to prevent them? Also: self-test, dealing with those affected and legal assistance.
If dementia continues to progress, the above symptoms will intensify. Sufferers now have problems forming sentences. Because dementia patients forget more and more, get times of day mixed up. Many complain about an altered sleep-wake rhythm. All of these symptoms occur at different stages of the disease for each person affected. Sure signs that dementia has progressed are:
– Affected people forget key events from the past. This can be particularly painful for family members. For example, when the sufferer can no longer remember ever having married. – Also, at this stage, some sufferers increasingly remember being wronged in the past. They do not understand how long it has been and that by now the grass has grown over the matter – In the second stage, the personality of those affected begins to change. They may feel misunderstood and react more irritably and unbalanced than they would have in the past.
To make things easier for those affected, relatives should be very patient during this time. It is important to protect the person with dementia from himself or herself. "Gas stoves should be disconnected at this stage at the latest," emphasizes Unger. A good alternative to cooking for oneself is offered by care services such as "Meals on Wheels," which regularly brings food to the home.
In the second stage of dementia, the affected person needs much more support in everyday life. However, it is not always a good idea to place relatives in a nursing home when problems first arise, he says. It is often good for those affected to remain in their own home, as they can orient themselves better there. However, this is only possible if family members and neighbors regularly drop by.
Late stage of dementia
When dementia is far advanced, those affected suffer from severe mood swings. They may stare out the window for hours and then suddenly start pacing frantically up and down the home. Other symptoms in the final stages of dementia include:
– The affected persons can no longer form words or even sentences and therefore hardly speak at all. – Dementia patients can no longer interpret their body's signals. This makes it difficult for them to control their bladder, for example. – Many also suffer from muscle tension, because they can no longer control whether the muscles are tense or not. The body deteriorates to such an extent that those affected end up bedridden. – However, as long as dementia patients can still move, it is advisable to keep an eye on doors at this stage. Because dementia patients are often confused and set off to places that only exist in their memory.
However, all this does not mean that relatives can no longer communicate with the affected person. Many are very sensitive to touch and facial expressions. Even smells like the aftershave they have been using for years can put a smile on their face.
In the late stages of dementia, all patients are dependent on 24-hour care. If those affected can still walk, you should take them out for a walk during your visits. "Exercise keeps the body fit and releases happiness hormones," says the doctor.
At any stage of dementia, he said, it is very important not to violate the dignity of the person concerned. "Relatives should be careful not to criticize or discuss the dementia patient's declining abilities in front of bystanders," the expert stresses. In addition, it is important to look closely at the development of each dementia patient to know which tasks you can still entrust to them. Because the disease develops at different rates in everyone.