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The 7 Stages of Dementia

Dementia is a progressive disease. The more you understand its progression, the easier time you’ll have caring for someone who is affected by it. Do you know how to care for a loved one through the 7 stages of dementia?

The 7 Stages of Dementia

When you’re learning about dementia, you will often hear doctors and caregivers mention the “stages” of the disease. Because dementia is a progressive disease, understanding these stages can help caretakers communicate what is currently happening to a patient and what can be expected later on. So, what are the 7 stages of dementia? And what levels of care are needed for a patient who is navigating them?

Stage One: No Cognitive Decline

During this initial stage of dementia, a patient will not meet the criteria required for a dementia diagnosis. This is because no measurable cognitive decline is apparent, and no additional care is needed. People unaffected by dementia are considered to be at stage one until something causes them to advance to stage two.

Stage Two: Very Mild Cognitive Decline

In the second stage of dementia, some memory slips will become apparent to the afflicted person. They may forget the names of objects or acquaintances or regularly misplace everyday items. Since memory issues are a standard part of the aging process, this will not appear as dementia to medical professionals, and the condition is not diagnosable until it progresses further.

Stage Three: Mild Cognitive Decline

Stage three of dementia brings diagnosable symptoms to the patient for the first time. Patients in stage three of dementia will experience memory lapses and cognitive issues that can impact their daily life, such as difficulty with language and increased forgetfulness. They may also have trouble concentrating for long periods. Patients may need some assistance staying organized and remembering daily tasks but should still be able to maintain some independence.

Stage Four: Moderate Cognitive Decline

When a patient enters stage four, they will begin to have difficulty with the tasks of independent living. Their memory and cognitive skills will decline to the point that it is very noticeable to friends and loved ones. In stage four, it is often not safe for those with dementia to travel independently or live alone. Seniors in stage four also may find themselves withdrawing socially due to the difficulties of the disease, making social time and loving connections particularly important for caretakers to maintain.

Stage Five: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline

Once seniors reach stage five of dementia, they will require assistance with many daily living tasks, such as showering and feeding themselves. They will have significant memory issues and often lack an awareness of what day it is or where they are. More advanced dementia care, like memory care, is usually recommended at this stage.

Stage Six: Severe Cognitive Decline

When a senior with dementia enters stage six of the disease, they will no longer be able to independently care for themselves. They may have limited-to-no memory or cognitive skills and struggle with mental issues like anxiety. Personality changes and emotional changes are widespread in this stage. A person with dementia will also experience more pronounced physical problems during this stage, such as incontinence.

Stage Seven: Very Severe Cognitive Decline

In this final stage of dementia, patients will lose their ability to move independently. They will not be able to walk alone, and other physical skills will also be limited. Patients in this stage also struggle with communication; verbal or written communication is often difficult or impossible. Dementia patients typically need 24-hour support in this final stage of the disease.


Helping someone navigate the 7 stages of dementia can be overwhelming. Memory care offers indispensable support.

Are you looking for an assisted living, memory support, or physician-directed nursing community in Kansas City? Check out The Piper. Our team of experienced and compassionate professionals ensures that “residents feel secure” and comfortable immediately. At our warm and welcoming community, which is truly a “home within a home,” we foster social interaction, engagement, and the right amount of care. Our residents always come first. To learn more about our services or schedule a tour, please give us a call at 913-361-5136 or contact us online.