Thursday, 6 June 2013

The stages of dementia

I'm increasingly dubious about the 'Stages of Dementia'.  The idea is that the condition can be broken down into stages.  Typically each stage is allocated a list of symptoms.  You check your cared for person's symptoms against a stage and then you know what stage they are at. Simples!

Except that when you speak to other carers or read what they have written you find that often people have a cluster of symptoms which might well include a few from each stage.  If you raise this with a 'true believer' in the stages, they will tell you that you should only view the stages as a rough guide.

It's actually very, very rough.  It seems to take no account of the fact that there are so many different kinds of  dementia  -  possibly as many as there are people with dementia.

And I worry that if a carer is led to believe that the person cared for is in the 'late stages', they will treat them accordingly and this may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It's also interesting to me that there are a number of different versions of the stages floating about.  And that they all seem to be based around odd numbers  -  3 stages, 5 stages, 7 stages, never, you notice, around even numbers.  It reminds me of the magical numbers of myths and fairy stories.


  1. Hello there - I just stumbled across your blog when I was doing some digging around on the link between AD and HSV-1. Have you been in touch any further with Dr Ruth Itzhaki? I'm still fascinated by this possible connection that holds such potential, but is being dismissed by the medical field. I've had many older relatives who suffered from AD, and struggle with HSV-1 myself, so am very interested in what the research is showing - if any is still being done. I did find some other reports/studies done at Brown U. and a few other US based universities, so I'm hoping the idea hasn't been completely snuffed out.

    My best to you and your wife -
    Jennifer Priestner

  2. Hi Jenn,

    I have emailed you with more detail.

    Many thanks