Stages And Models For The Progression Of Dementia
The progression of dementia is broken down into a number of different stages by experts. You will need to know these stages if you are looking into Houston dementia care. Depending on the individual or body, the condition can be split up into three to seven different phases. Divisions are always based upon the type and severity of symptoms. Most scales recognize three major categories of dementia: mild, moderate, and severe. More detailed models break some or all of these down into sub-categories.
Structure aside, all of the different models for the progression of dementia proceed in the same fashion. The range of different models available is a good thing; it suits the fact that different caregivers will find different presentations more or less compelling and memorable. I personally like the witty, positive approach offered by Teepa Snow, one of the nation’s foremost dementia educators. I’ve presented Teepa’s “GEM” model below along with a couple of more conventional dementia models.
The Alzheimer’s Scale
- Mild: In this earliest stage, an individual is capable of functioning independently despite some difficulties.
- Moderate: For most sufferers, this is the longest stage. Moderate dementia can last for many years. Expect to see mental abilities, physical capabilities, and personalities change as the condition progresses. Individuals at this stage need day-to-day assistance in order to remain safe, functional, and hygienic.
- Severe: These are the final days of the condition. At this point, extensive care is required and communication may be difficult or impossible.
Teepa Snow’s GEM Model
Teepa divides dementia into 6 categories. Each stage is symbolized by a gemstone and the model concentrates on emphasizing the retention of abilities rather than their loss.
- Sapphire: At the “true blue” level, the brain is completely healthy and cognition is optimal.
- Diamond: Clarity and sharpness are characteristic here. Adhering to routines and rituals is important.
- Emerald: “Green for go.” Individuals retain purpose and direction, though natural flaws may be apparent.
- Amber: As with an insect caught in amber, the sufferer gets caught up in one moment over and over. Caregivers need to be cautious.
- Ruby: Strong color masks possibilities hidden deep inside. Abilities become limited, but the sufferer may hum, sing, and mimic a caregiver’s motions.
- Pearl: Beauty is hidden inside a hard shell. The individual needs comfort and connection; familiar smells, faces, voices, and sensations may spark memories.
The Global Deterioration Scale (DTS)
- No Impairment: The GDS starts with a healthy, unimpaired brain as a reference point.
- Very Mild: Common, minor cognitive and memory problems associated with aging. Items may be misplaced and remembering details like names may be difficult.
- Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI): Clear deficiencies in cognitive ability become apparent. Remembering day-to-day occurrences often becomes challenging.
- Moderate: Cognitive deficits become serious and impossible to miss in a thorough clinical interview. Common symptoms include changes in concentration, memory, orientation, and recognition. Denial is common in this stage.
- Moderately Severe: Significant assistance is required for day-to-day tasks. Most individuals in this stage require round-the-clock care, often provided in a dedicated facility.
- Severe: The sufferer is largely unaware of his or her surroundings. Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) are impossible without assistance. The ability to hold onto a thought is sharply limited, and changes in personality can be significant.
- Very Severe: The end of life stage. The sufferer loses most or all verbal abilities. The brain’s ability to control the body degrades significantly.
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia affect every individual in different ways. To learn more about how the progression of the condition relates to your loved one, consult with a doctor.