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What Are Signs That Dementia Is Getting Worse

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  • 21-02-2023
What Are Signs That Dementia Is Getting Worse

What are signs that dementia is getting worse? This article looks at the early symptoms of dementia and then explores the middle and later stages. 

Companions Home Care offer dementia home care for London including Westminster, Islington, Kensington and Southwark. Find out more about how to notice if dementia is getting worse.

Early symptoms of dementia

The different forms of dementia can lead to people being affected in very different ways. Everyone who has dementia will experience the various symptoms in their own unique way. However, you will find that there are some common early symptoms that may be experienced some time before the actual diagnosis of dementia occurs. These include the following:

Issues with memory loss

Troubles with concentrating

Having difficulties with carrying out common daily tasks. An example of this would be confusion over ensuring you have the correct change when purchasing something in a shop.

Confusion over where you are, or the time of day

Shifts in mood

Problems with following along with a conversation or finding the right words when talking to someone

Even though these symptoms will usually start quite mild, they can become worse gradually over time. This period of time is often referred to as "mild cognitive impairment" or sometimes just MCI. 

This is because the symptoms are not yet severe enough to be diagnosed as being dementia. You might notice some of these symptoms if you are suffering from mild cognitive impairment. It is common for family and friends to not pick up on these symptoms, or if they do, not take them seriously until they become more severe.

For some people, the symptoms will be consistently the same and not become any worse. However, some people with mild cognitive impairment will go on to be diagnosed as having dementia. Despite what some people believe, dementia is not a natural product of ageing. 

This is why it is so important for anyone experiencing these symptoms to speak with a professional GP sooner rather than later. If you are experiencing memory issues or any of the other symptoms described above, then you must speak with a professional.

What Are The Needs Of A Person With Dementia?

The middle stage of dementia

For the majority of people who have dementia, the middle stage is when the dementia symptoms will begin to get worse. This is also the stage of dementia where the changes in behaviour will commonly start. This middle stage of dementia is also commonly the longest.

On average, this stage of dementia will last somewhere between two to four years. During this time, the symptoms of dementia are likely to develop in the following ways. All existing problems with thinking and memory will become worse in the middle stage of dementia.

One example of this is that the majority of people will find it more difficult to recognise their close friends and family members. They may confuse these people with strangers. Taking in and remembering new information will also become much harder.

This can lead to the person with dementia repeating the same questions again and again. The ways that a person uses their language or speaks is also likely to become worse at this stage of dementia. People may have issues finding the right word to demonstrate their thoughts, or they might forget what it was that they were trying to say mid-sentence.

What Are Signs That Dementia Is Getting Worse? Dementia Home Care London

It will also become harder for them to understand what other people are saying during a conversation. Any issues with orientation can also become much more serious. This means that the individual may get confused about what time of day it is. They might find themselves getting up in the middle of the night and getting dressed as if it were the morning. They might also find themselves confused about their location. Even at home, they may not know where they are, or think that they are elsewhere.

Delusions are also a common symptom at this stage of dementia. Many people will start to believe in things that are not at all true very strongly. Paranoia is a common part of this. They may feel as though other people are out to harm them or that they cannot be trusted. 

A common example of this is people believing that someone is stealing from them or that their partners are being unfaithful. Hallucinations are one other symptom that may occur during this part of dementia. A person may start to see and hear things which are not actually happening.

Although, keep in mind this is more common in the middle stage of Alzheimer’s disease than it is with the middle stage of vascular dementia. Finally, the individual may also begin to feel anxious, depressed, or generally apathetic during the middle stage of dementia. 

The changes described above explain why a person may begin to struggle with controlling their emotions when in the middle stage of dementia. It is common for people to become angry, scared, or upset very easily. They may also quite quickly switch between these emotions. It is also possible for them to be responding to their new loss of independence. 

The later stage of dementia

In the later stage of dementia, the condition will have a severe impact on almost all aspects of a person's life. Eventually, the person will need the help of full-time care. Support will be necessary for living their daily life and personal care routine, such as dressing themselves, washing, and eating. This care is sometimes provided at home, but it is more commonly provided in a care home setting.

All the symptoms are likely to lead to give the individual a large amount of difficulty at this stage of dementia, but physical issues and altered perception will be the most noticeable symptoms. Keep in mind that in late stage dementia, all the symptoms of all dementia types will begin to be very similar. The later stage of dementia will commonly be the shortest. On average, the later stage of demetia will last somewhere between one to two years.

What are the signs that a person with dementia is nearing the end of their life?

Signs of late-stage dementia

Some of the symptoms that come with later stage dementia will suggest that the individual is reaching the final stage of their condition. This can include:

Speech becomes limited to singular words or phrases that might not make any sense

Only a very limited understanding of what is being spoken to them when in a conversation

Need help with almost all everyday activities

Great difficulty with swallowing and eating much less

Bladder and bowel incontinence

Incapable of walking or standing.

Issues with sitting up in bed and becoming completely bed-bound

What Are The Signs That A Person With Dementia Is Nearing The End Of Their Life? London

If an individual with dementia is suffering from some or all of these symptoms, then it is likely that they are nearing the end of their life. The person may have other issues, such as being extremely frail, keep getting infections that will not go away, and suffering from pressure ulcers/bedsores.

Signs of the dying process

As a person's dementia condition becomes worse and worse, and they are within a few days or hours of dying, there are further changes which will commonly appear. The person may experience the following:

Easily become agitated or restless

Start breathing in an irregular pattern

Have cold feet and hands

Deteriorate much quicker than before

Total loss of consciousness

Breathing will sound either chesty or rattly

An inability to swallow

All these changes are part of the process of dying when the individual is usually unaware of what is happening to them and around them.


If you have questions about the needs of a person who needs dementia care, we hope this information has been useful to you.

We offer specialist home care services and live-in care for vulnerable adults throughout London. Get in contact today if you have a loved one that would benefit from professional care at home.