During the middle stage of dementia, symptoms increase as the disease progresses. Middle Stage dementia symptoms increase and become more noticeable. As the damage to the brain increases, it becomes more and more difficult for those living with dementia to express their feelings and thoughts and carry out day-to-day activities.
You may find yourself or a loved one suffering from depression, anxiety, irritability, changes in sleep, and behavioral issues.
While this is a difficult time for everyone, you can make it easier by consulting an occupational therapist or physician that specializes in dementia in your area to help you and your loved one through this challenging transition.
During middle-stage dementia, you will still have a lot of good days with your loved one mixed with some not-so-good days. While you might not be able to continue to do the same things with one another, you will find new ways to spend time with one another.
Is Middle Stage Dementia The Longest Dementia Stage?
Yes, typically, middle-stage dementia lasts the longest. It can last for many years (typically 2-4 years), and the level of help needed usually increases over time.
Symptoms Of Middle Stage Dementia
Often when middle-stage dementia hits, symptoms increase and start to become more noticeable. It is common for behaviour’s to change as well. You may see the following symptoms in middle-stage dementia.
#1. Memory and Thinking Problems
In the early stage of dementia, we start to see memory and thinking problems. These symptoms will become more noticeable and progressively worsen through middle-stage dementia. It will become harder to recognize friends and family at this stage, and your loved ones may even start to think that they look like strangers. New information becomes harder to remember, and you may notice your loved one asking more repetitive questions during this stage.
#2. Speech Problems
It is customary in this stage for it to become more difficult for your loved one to find the right word to say when communicating with you. They may even forget in the middle of the sentence what they were trying to tell you.
#3. Concept of Day and Times
It is common for living with dementia in this stage to put their pajamas on in the middle of the day or to get dressed for the day at 3 am. This may be because they are confused about the time of the day.
#4. Depression and Anxiety
It is common for depression and anxiety to increase during this stage.
#5. Become Delusional
Depending on the type of dementia your loved one has, you may notice hallucination’s becoming more common in middle stage dementia.. Your loved one might start to believe things that are not true. They may think people are trying to harm them and that people are stealing from them. In many cases, spouses begin to feel that their spouse is being unfaithful.
A common symptom of middle-stage dementia is hallucinations. This can include seeing people that have passed away or conversing with people that are not there.
Due to forgetting things more often, your loved one might struggle with self-care and grooming. They may forget to shower, put on deodorant, or change into clean clothes. If this begins to happen, speak with your doctor regarding an order for OT and/or ST if applicable. If you are a caregiver residing in Texas, you can consult with me, Your Dementia Therapist for further advice and recommendations.
#8. Changes in Appetite
As dementia increases, it is common for your loved ones’ appetite to decrease, causing them to lose weight.
#9. Balance and Coordination
In mid-stage dementia, those living with dementia will start to struggle with balance and coordination. Walking will become more difficult, and you will often see an increase in the occurrence of falls.
#10. Changes in Behavior
As dementia progresses, behaviors increase. These behaviors include:
- Restlessness- This includes fidgeting and pacing.
- Screaming or shouting
- Following others
- Repetitiveness- Since dementia patients struggle with short-term memory, they often forget the answer to questions or share the same thought. This causes them to repeat themselves over and over again.
- Sleep problems- It is common for dementia patients to fall asleep throughout the day or have trouble staying asleep throughout the whole night.
- Saying inappropriate things
- Doing inappropriate things in public- is not uncommon for those living with dementia to perform inappropriate things in public. This can include things like urinating or undressing in public.
- Withdrawing from others- As symptoms increase, it is common for your loved ones to remove themselves from conversations.
How Can Loved Ones Help?
During middle-stage dementia, you might feel alone and helpless at times, not knowing what you can do to help, but here are some things you can do to help.
- Remind- While your loved one might have trouble remembering various tasks and memories, help them with gentle cues and reminders. Remind them of names, events, and tasks that might seem difficult to them.
- Keep life Simple- Simplify things a little bit more for your loved ones. Find clothing that is easy to put on, speak a little slower, and follow a simple routine.
- Avoid Arguing- While life might be hard, try to avoid arguing with your loved one living with dementia. Do not tell them what they believe is false or inaccurate.
- Recall the Past- Helping your loved one recall the past can prove to be a huge comfort to your loved one. When those living with dementia lose their memory, it is their short-term memory that is lost first. They may still recall things that happened many years ago. Focus on sharing those past memories with each other.