What are the 7 Stages of Dementia?


As our population ages, dementia is a growing concern that cannot be overlooked. Understanding its progression is crucial for caregivers, family members, and healthcare professionals to better support individuals facing this challenge. Through ECCA’s Adult Day Services program and others, we serve those with dementia and their families and loved ones. Dementia refers to a group of brain diseases that cause a long-term decrease in the ability to think and remember, affecting daily functioning. There are a few different people who try to explain the different “stages of dementia.” In this post, we wanted to explain the different stages of dementia as explained in the Reisberg Scale or the Global Deterioration Scale developed by Dr. Barry Reisberg. Below are the 7 stages of dementia.

Stage 1: No Cognitive Decline

In this stage, individuals function normally with no noticeable memory or cognitive decline. Symptoms are not evident, making this stage often undiagnosed.

Stage 2: Very Mild Cognitive Decline

The second stage is characterized by very mild cognitive decline, similar to normal age-related forgetfulness. Memory lapses like misplacing objects or forgetting names may occur but are often dismissed.

Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Decline

During this stage, memory lapses and difficulty finding words become noticeable to friends and family. Other symptoms include trouble focusing, losing items, and decreased work performance.

Stage 4: Moderate Cognitive Decline

Signs of dementia become more apparent at this stage. Individuals may struggle with arithmetic, managing finances, understanding the news, or traveling. Memory loss and confusion increase.

Stage 5: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline

Caregivers need to provide more assistance in this stage. Significant confusion, difficulty performing daily tasks, and memory gaps become more pronounced.

Stage 6: Severe Cognitive Decline

Memory worsens, personality changes occur, and individuals require extensive help with daily activities. Recent experiences and surroundings may not be recognized except by close friends and relatives.

Stage 7: Very Severe Cognitive Decline

The final stage brings profound loss of mental and physical abilities. Full-time care is required, verbal communication and movement may be limited, and vulnerability to infections increases.


Understanding the 7 stages of dementia is helpful for caregivers. It aids in planning future care, making living arrangements, and providing the necessary support. Awareness of these stages allows caregivers to empathize and adapt, ensuring loved ones receive the dignity and care they deserve throughout the disease. For more information and support, follow our blog or reach out to local healthcare providers and support networks. Remember, you are not alone on this journey.

If you are struggling as a caregiver and would like help problem-solving and are considering what you should do next, ECCA offers 1:1 caregiver consultations. Just reach out to our Director, Ila Schepisi, schepisi@vt.edu.

2024-03-20T23:34:03+00:00 March 20, 2024|ADS News|