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What Are the 7 Stages of Vascular Dementia?

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A senior man with a look of confusion scratches his head as he tries to remember something while pointing to a specific date on the wall calendar.

Vascular dementia is a type of dementia caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, resulting in damage to the brain cells. It is the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. The progression of vascular dementia is divided into 7 stages, each with its symptoms. 

Vascular dementia often begins with mild cognitive impairment, but symptoms can become more severe as the disease progresses, including confusion, disorientation, and language difficulties. In later stages, mobility, balance, and coordination challenges may occur. 

Individuals may become increasingly reliant on others for their care—and may require memory care—as the disease progresses.

It’s important to note that the progression of vascular dementia can vary from person to person, and the stages may not always be clearly defined. It’s important to seek advice from experts if you or a loved one are experiencing the symptoms associated with vascular dementia.

Stage 1: No Cognitive Decline

Vascular dementia is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, making it the second most common type of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. In the early stages, there may be no cognitive decline at all. It’s important to reduce the risk of further brain damage by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing existing medical conditions. 

Regular check-ups with your doctor are also important to monitor any changes in cognitive abilities. By taking these steps, you can help detect and manage cognitive decline early.

Stage 2: Mild Cognitive Impairment

Stage 2 of vascular dementia is called Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). It is characterized by memory loss, confusion, and difficulty with daily tasks. People with MCI may struggle to remember recent events, conversations, or appointments. They may also find multitasking, planning, and organizing challenging. Additionally, problem-solving and decision-making can be difficult.

At this stage, seeking medical advice and support is important. A doctor can diagnose the condition and provide guidance on symptom management. Lifestyle changes like regular exercise and a healthy diet may improve cognitive function

Stage 3: Mild Vascular Dementia

In stage 3 of vascular dementia, symptoms worsen. Memory loss, confusion, and difficulty with daily activities increase. Problem-solving, planning, and language skills are affected. It’s important to remember that symptoms can vary among individuals.

A senior man in his active wear doing yoga in a brightly lit room.

At this stage, seeking medical assistance and developing a management plan is crucial. This may involve lifestyle changes like a healthy diet, regular exercise, and medications and therapies to address symptoms. 

Stage 4: Moderate Vascular Dementia

In stage 4 of vascular dementia, symptoms worsen with increased confusion, memory loss, impaired judgment, and difficulty with everyday tasks like shopping, finances, and following directions. Communication may also be challenging, with trouble finding the right words. 

Patience, understanding, and a safe environment are crucial in this stage to assist with daily activities. 

Stage 5: Moderately Severe Vascular Dementia

In stage 5, memory loss, confusion, and difficulty with daily activities become more pronounced. Recognizing family and friends becomes challenging, and assistance may be needed for dressing and bathing. It’s important to note that the progression of vascular dementia varies from person to person, and symptoms may differ in this stage.

Stage 6: Severe Vascular Dementia

During stage 6 of vascular dementia, symptoms deteriorate, leading to a noticeable increase in memory loss and confusion. Communication and mobility may be challenging. Behavioral changes, like agitation or aggression, can occur. Seek medical assistance if experiencing these symptoms. 

Stage 7: Very Severe Vascular Dementia

At stage 7 of vascular dementia, individuals experience severe symptoms. They may be confused, agitated, and struggle with communication and mobility. Assistance is needed for daily activities like eating, bathing, and dressing. Recognition of family and friends may also be challenging.

Creating a safe and supportive environment and proper care and support can help individuals with severe vascular dementia maintain a good quality of life.

Get the Support You Need from The Fairways at Naples Memory Care Community 

At The Fairways at Naples Memory Care Community, we understand that a diagnosis of vascular dementia can be overwhelming for both the individual and their family. That’s why we provide a supportive environment with a compassionate and understanding care team. Our team is dedicated to providing the best possible care for your loved one, and we are here to support you and your family every step of the way. We understand this is a difficult time, and we are here to provide the support you need. Book a tour today to learn more about our services and how we can help.

Written by Fairways At Naples

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