Here we offer a more clearly defined picture of the whole dementia journey.

1. Normal behaviour
No symptoms, though changes in the brain might already be occurring – these can happen several years before symptoms emerge.

2. Forgetfulness
They forget things easily and constantly lose things around the house, although not to the point where the memory loss can easily be distinguished from normal age related memory

3. Mild Decline
You may begin to notice subtle changes and signs that something ‘isn’t quite right.’ They might be frequently losing their purse, or keys or forgetting appointments. This stage can last up to seven years.

4. Moderate Decline
Symptoms become clearer to everyone. They find it difficult to manage money or pay bills, or remember what they had for breakfast. If they visit their doctor at this point, and undergo a Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) it’s likely they will be diagnosed with dementia. The average length of this stage is around two years.

5. Moderately Severe Decline
They may need more help with day-to-day living during this stage. Whilst they can probably still take care of other personal needs on their own (such as using the toilet), they could find it difficult to dress appropriately or be unable to remember simple facts about themselves, such as their address or phone number. However, they usually recognise family and friends and can recall events from years ago (especially their childhood) with great clarity. On average this stage can last around 1.5 years.

6. Severe Decline
This is the stage when constant supervision is needed at home. They may need help with washing and dressing and may also become incontinent. You could notice changes in their personality and behaviour – such as anger and aggression – which can be upsetting and difficult to cope with. However, although they might be very confused, they often still know and recognise the people closest to them – which can be some comfort. Experts believe this stage can last, on average 2.5 years.

7. Very Severe Decline
Many of those with dementia pass away before they reach this stage, often as a result of other health conditions. At this stage, they’ll experience severe loss of speech, need assistance with day- to- day living, feeding, need round-the-clock care and the support of professional carers (if they haven’t already got this). It’s important to remember that the person with Dementia no longer really understands what’s happening.