The later stages of dementia

The later stages of dementia can be a challenging time both for the person experiencing dementia and for those close to them. Find out what you can expect and where you can get help and support.

When a person is in the later stages of dementia they are likely to be much more frail. This is sometimes also known as advanced or severe dementia. The later stages can be hard to define and everyone will go through them in their own way.

However, a person in the later stages is likely to experience severe memory loss, problems with communication and daily activities, and greater changes in behaviour and physical problems than in the earlier stages. They will probably rely on others for much of their care.

Some people may not want to know what to expect in the later stages and it is important to respect this. However, knowing what to expect can help the person and those supporting them to plan ahead for the treatment and care they may want.

This guide is for anyone supporting someone in the later stages. It includes information on symptoms in the later stages of dementia and the care and support available. It also includes advice on how to support the person and plan ahead for the later stages. 

The progression of dementia

Dementia is a progressive condition. This means it will get worse over time because of damage to the person’s brain, and this will have a big impact on the person’s mental abilities (including memory and communication).

The speed at which dementia worsens varies widely. There are some differences between the different types of dementia – Alzheimer’s disease, for example, seems to have the slowest progression on average. There is also variation from person to person. 

How does dementia progress?

Read more about how Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia progress over time.

Read more

Caring for a person in the later stages of dementia can be rewarding, but also very challenging. When a person with dementia moves into residential care, it can have a big impact on the carer as well. It is important to seek support for any feelings you might have.

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