Whether it occurs suddenly or gradually, dementia can cause many disabling symptoms, including: memory disturbances personality changes impairments in judgment problems w/impulse control confusion and disorientation depression and/or anxiety low motivation/initiative marked intellectual decline obsessive behaviors paranoia and delusions psychotic episodes
The key element is a noticeable decline in intellectual functioning, that greatly interferes with normal relationships and daily activities.
As dementia progresses, the signs are more serious and easier to notice. People with mild to moderate dementia may forget how to do simple tasks, like brushing their teeth or combing their hair. They can begin to have troubles thinking clearly, speaking, reading, writing, and understanding. Anxiety, aggression, and wandering are common. As the severity increases, the losses can become more obvious, while the behaviors can worsen or, at times, even improve.
Eventually, some may need continuous and intensive nursing care. Skilled nursing facilities are designed to offer either short term rehabilitation or long-term care to those in need of various medical and physical procedures.
Otherwise, many dementia persons respond remarkably well to small-care facilities where they frequently can receive more individualized attention and experience a closer knit, “family-like” setting than in an institutional-type placement.
By end stage, dementia robs its victims of the ability to recognize even close family members or to communicate in any way. People can live in this condition for years. Quite frequently, people with advanced dementia die from pneumonia or other physical diseases.
As sad as this scenario seems, there can still be plenty of family sharing, closeness, and time to informally say goodbye between dementias onset and its final stages.
These are the times to pull out photos, relate family stories, invite relatives to visit, make peace with anything and everything from the past, voice the positives of your lives together, and laugh. In every relationship, regardless of circumstances, there was often more goodness than we may give credit to. You might want to look for the highs and speak about those times with the ones you love.