All types of dementia are progressive. This means that the structure and chemistry of the brain become increasingly damaged over time. The person's ability to remember, understand, communicate and reason gradually declines.
How quickly dementia progresses depends on the individual. Each person is unique and experiences dementia in their own way.
The way people experience dementia depends on many factors, including physical make-up, emotional resilience and the support available to them. Viewing dementia as a series of stages can be a useful way to understand the illness, but it is important to realise that this only provides a rough guide to the progress of the condition.
The progression of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias
Each person experiences dementia in their own way, but the way the condition progresses can be seen as a series of stages.
Early stage dementia
In the early stages of dementia, a person should be able to do most things with just a little help. The different types of dementia are also most different in the early stages.
Later stages of dementia
In the later stages of dementia, a person’s symptoms will become worse and they will become dependent on other people for their care.
Short-term memory problems and dementia
One of the most common symptoms in the early stages of dementia is having problems with short-term memory.