When a loved one suffers from dementia, it can be difficulty to watch her lose certain physical and cognitive abilities. Dementia refers to a group of symptoms that result from neurological damage, in which, for the majority of cases, the damage is nonreversible.
As a person ages, the risk for dementia increases. While the prevalence is between 5 and 8 percent in people who are over age 65, that percentage jumps to nearly 50 percent at age 85 and older, noted the Cleveland Clinic.
Many of the common types of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and Lewy body dementia, are progressive dementias, meaning the symptoms get worse over time, with patients losing more abilities. For example, symptoms of dementia in the most severe stage include not being able to perform activities needed for everyday living, such as bathing oneself.
Mild Cognitive Impairment
The first stage of dementia is really not dementia. Rather, mild cognitive impairment is between what are normal memory problems due to aging and the full onset of dementia. A patient with mild cognitive impairment may take longer than she used to when working on more difficult activities using mental capabilities.
She may have trouble when problem solving or when she needs to do multiple tasks at once. Memory problems may occur, such as issues remembering conversations or events that recently occurred.
But these issues with memory and thinking do not impair everyday tasks as full dementia does. While people with mild cognitive impairment can develop dementia, MedlinePlus noted that some people do not get dementia later.
Early Stage Dementia
Better Health Channel from the State Government of Victoria pointed out that the early stage of dementia may be missed at first. The symptoms may be attributed to the person getting older or being overworked.
The symptoms of dementia during this stage include several cognitive domains: language, memory, learning and thinking.
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