Dementia presents a massive challenge for older people and their families. Unfortunately, the pace and severity of symptoms vary widely from person to person, so it’s hard to tell people exactly what they can expect.
However, general dementia symptoms affect a person’s ability to remember things, process thoughts, and engage with their loved ones. Patients with dementia also often experience symptoms irregularly, which can be a frustrating experience for everyone involved.
Depending on the situation, dementia can be a long, hard road for families to walk. It’s difficult to see people we love slowly degrade over time. However, understanding the stages of dementia offers baselines of what will likely happen along the way.
Here’s an overview of what typically happens to people developing dementia. Remember, each person will experience symptoms differently and move through the stages at varying speeds.
The First Stage – Early Dementia
People with early-stage dementia can usually function quite well. They may experience moments of forgetfulness or inability to think clearly, but for the most part, their life is normal. They can drive, work, and interact with friends.
Minimal symptoms when dementia first begins make the condition harder to spot. It’s normal to become absentminded or have moments of cloudy thinking as we age. However, the symptoms of dementia eventually develop to the point where the condition starts having a bigger impact on quality of life.
As early dementia progresses, people will:
- Have difficulty planning schedules
- Forget names or call people the wrong names
- Struggle with everyday tasks and routines
- Fail to make decisions quickly
- Forget things they recently read or learned.
Noticing the signs of dementia earlier can help people seek treatment sooner. While there is currently no known cure for dementia, people can use treatments to delay the onset of more serious symptoms.
The Second Stage – Moderate Dementia
Moderate dementia is the stage when it becomes clear things are wrong. This stage usually goes on for the longest. Typically, people experience moderate dementia symptoms for years. Indications that someone is in the middle stage of dementia include:
Getting lost or wandering without purpose
- Trouble controlling the bowels
- Easily angered or confused
- Forgetting phone numbers, faces, names
- Forgetting major life events
This stage of dementia is understandably troubling for the patient and those who love them. It’s very difficult to see a cognitive decline in anyone. Unfortunately, dementia also affects younger people with family history and other contributing factors.
The Third Stage – Late-Stage Dementia
Late-stage dementia is the final stage of dementia. In this stage, people lose their connection to the world. Even having conversations are challenging. Moments of lucidity and clear thinking are fewer and far between.
A person with late-stage dementia often struggles to complete even the simplest tasks. They need help eating, going to the bathroom, or turning on the television. Expressing anything but the most simple sentiments is very challenging.
These patients usually need professional care around the clock. Families often take on the burden of caring for people with moderate dementia, but eventually, the work becomes too much to manage, and they hire someone to come to the house or move the relative into assisted living.
People with dementia are many times at increased health risk because they can no longer properly care for themselves. They can fall down stairs, eat the wrong prescription medicines, or develop pneumonia or infections because they aren’t taking good care of themselves.
Planning for Dementia
Living with and planning ahead when dealing with dementia is very difficult. Often, the person with dementia does not fully grasp the extent of their symptoms. They’re only capable of discussing relevant matters when they are lucid and have no recollection of when they can’t remember their children’s names, for instance.
Despite the challenges, working on a plan for dealing with dementia is essential for families to manage the condition humanely and practically. Decide upon certain triggers of cognitive decline and what reaction they warrant. It’s frequently a problem that one or two people in the family take on the burden of caregiving, which can lead to financial strain and resentment. Build a practical plan that provides the best possible care for your loved one.
The Impact of Peptides on Dementia
Peptides are chains of amino acids designed to trigger specific biological reactions. They are naturally occurring, but researchers have found ways to produce synthetic peptides.
One peptide, Gonadorelin, has shown that it can increase testosterone levels in male animal models. Higher testosterone levels are believed to preserve cognitive function and increase neurocognitive pathology. When the testosterone hormone is elevated, it’s believed to lead to better long-term health. It also improves the connection between the right and left brain hemispheres.
Ongoing research is being conducted to determine better Gonadorelin and testosterone’s impact on older subjects’ cognitive function.