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What is the FAST Score for Dementia?
The seven FAST stages are as follows:
- Normal adult
- Normal older adult
- Early dementia
- Mild dementia
- Moderate dementia
- Moderately severe dementia
- Severe dementia
Read on to find out what each stage means.
When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia it can be a shock, even when you already know in your heart that it is true.
One of the most worrying parts of dementia is knowing that it is degenerative, in other words, it is a progressive disease that will get worse.
Knowing at what stage your loved one is at and what changes they will go through as the disease progresses can be useful so you can plan ahead and mentally prepare for the changes you will see.
Have you ever wondered what it is like to be diagnosed with Dementia? Dementia is a broad category of brain diseases that cause lifelong and gradual loss of memory, decrease in the ability to think which in the end affects severely a person’s daily functioning. 1
What are the FAST Stages in More Detail?
FAST is the abbreviation of the Functional Assessment Staging Test – the most very well-known method of following the course of dementia. It is used to help doctors, medical specialists, patients, and their relatives understand the progress of the disease. The FAST scale for dementia consists of seven stages and we will look into each stage in more detail.
At stage 1 we see no disturbance of the normal functioning of the patient. Everything is fine and that is why this stage is called Normal Aging.
Stage 2 is also called Possible Mild Cognitive Impairment and often seen symptoms are forgetting items, appointments, getting lost in a very well-known environment. Patients might experience depression, apathy, anxiety, irritation, etc.
At stage 3 we observe the same symptoms as mentioned in stage 2. This stage can last up to 84 months without treatment.
Stage 4 is called Mild Dementia and patients are unable to do their simple daily routine and tasks such as bill paying, cooking, cleaning.
Stage 5 (Moderate Dementia) is all about needing help selecting proper clothes.
These two stages are branched into sub-stages. Stage 6 (Severe Moderate Dementia) is accompanied by these symptoms: inability to toilet on one’s own and inability to bathe and put on clothes independently.
Stage 7 is the last stage and it is called Severe Dementia. Patients are unable to speak clearly, they use only 5-6 words, they don’t smile and can’t sit up and walk without help.
How Long Does Each Stage Last?
Truthfully, the speed of each stage varies from person to person. Treatment is obligatory in order to extend the time needed to move from a previous stage to the next one. Doctors use this scale to measure the effect of the treatment on the patients.
Care and support
When it comes to a person being diagnosed with dementia – you should be always supportive and positive with them. Listen to the person and make them feel happy, make their life joyful by doing activities that will help clear their minds. Never give up on your loved ones and remember that no matter how awkward or upset they may get it is not their fault and they do not mean it.
Causes of Dementia
Dementia is caused by several factors such as damaged nerve cells or loss of nerve cells. Dementia affects patients in different ways and generates different symptoms based on the damaged area of the brain. Research conducted in February 2009 shows that the most common cause of Dementia (between 50%-70%) is Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).
The symptoms may vary from a person to person, but common ones are memory loss, language problems (difficulty to find simple words and communicate properly), difficulty performing familiar tasks and habits, personality changes and frequent mood change, disorientation, confusion and even misplacing things and putting them in improper places.
No matter what you do and how you live your life, there is no 100% way to prevent or cure dementia, but there are a few things that may reduce your chances: quit smoking, increase physical activity, socialize with people, get enough Vitamin D, keep up a healthy lifestyle, get quality sleep, etc.