Caregiving Through the Stages of Dementia - 24|7 Nursing Care

Caregiving Through the Stages of Dementia

As with any progressive disease, dementia patients may not exhibit many symptoms when they are first Stages of Dementiadiagnosed but will deteriorate in health as the years pass. Your job as a caregiver, or the one who will ultimately make decisions for your loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia, is to understand the changes that occur from one phase to another. It’s always best to be prepared, as dementia and its many forms can change each person it affects in different ways.

Generally speaking, you will notice your loved one going through three main phases of the disease: an early phase, a mid-phase, and a later phase.

Here are some ways to prepare for the three stages of dementia.


Early Stages of Dementia

Your loved one may have been diagnosed with dementia during the early stages of the disease when there are only small signs that memory and/or daily activities are causing some difficulty in his or her life. Most people still function independently during this phase of the disease. For example, many people may still drive and go to work after being diagnosed.

Your role as a caregiver down the line is to begin to prepare for a decline in your loved one’s health now while they are still able to handle some tasks on their own. Start to build a plan for the future.

  • Ask your loved one for his or her opinion on long-term care options.
  • Discuss financial and legal issues.
  • Ensure that a power-of-attorney is established.
  • Start to prepare the home to be a safe place for your loved one. Consider making changes to the interior to make it easier for them to move around when their motor skills begin to decline.

During this phase you may be feeling anxious and confused, which is completely normal. Consider resources available to assist you in future caregiving. Not only are there support groups and therapists who specialize in assisting caregivers, but you should also consider in-home help for the future.


Mid-Stages of Dementia

The mid-stages of the disease tend to be the longest. This stage can last for years. During this time, your loved one will need a greater level of care, whether that is by you as a caregiver, or with the help of an outside source. You may notice that your loved one begins to have trouble with everyday tasks around the home, and they may become confused while driving. This may be the time to take away the keys to the car to ensure everyone’s safety on the roads.

It’s important that during this time you try your best to be patient and have some flexibility in your schedule to help around the home with items your loved one will need assistance with as their mental state declines.

Stay in regular contact with your loved one’s doctor and pay attention to his/her needs from a medical and health standpoint. Make sure that your loved one is eating healthy, balanced meals on a regular basis, taking prescribed medications, and that they are getting fresh air and some physical activity if they are able to move around safely.

You may notice that your loved one is exhibiting changes in their behavior and daily care needs. This is normal for the progression of the disease and will mean that you may need to approach them in a more comforting and calm way. It’s easy to get frustrated if your loved one cannot do the simple tasks they could do before but remember that raising your voice or becoming angry will only agitate them more and may make your loved one discouraged to attempt any additional tasks.

Also, make sure you are taking care of yourself. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the needs of your loved one at this point, but it’s important to remember that you are a better caregiver if you are healthy and rested.


Later Stages of Dementia

In the later stages of the disease, around-the-clock care is likely needed. Your loved one may have difficulty eating and swallowing and may need assistance walking or sitting and standing by him/herself. He or she will be more vulnerable to infections, and therefore will need medical care more often.

The best thing you can do at this point is to preserve quality of life and your loved one’s dignity as they decline in health. Express care and love to them through touch, sight, and sound, as they may have a hard time with verbal expressions. Make sure that they are physically comfortable at all times. In addition, check with their doctor for any additional medical advice that may pertain to their individual issues.

This is the time when an in-home nursing service may be the best option for you. As your loved one’s health declines rapidly, it would be helpful to have a constant companion or medical professional who is taking care of your loved one while you maintain the home, finances, and other important issues that may come up in the end of life.

If you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, now is the time to start preparing for their future, including how you will care for them through the stages of the disease.

Contact us for more information on how our caregiving and in-home nursing services can help provide you with around-the-clock care for your loved one and peace of mind for you during this difficult time. We can be reached 24/7 at (786) 518-3622.




Stages and Behaviors | Caregiver Center. (n.d.). Retrieved March 20, 2018, from