The Signs, Symptoms and Stages of Mixed Dementia

The Signs, Symptoms and Stages of Mixed Dementia

Dementia is a complex and often challenging condition that can manifest in various forms. One such form is mixed dementia, a condition where an individual experiences multiple types of dementia concurrently. This because there are various causes of dementia, such as vascular dementia, and if more than one come into play, you might get mixed dementia.

In this short guide, we explain more about mixed dementia and what you can typically expect. We understand that a dementia diagnosis is a worrying time for individuals and loved ones. However, greater understanding can help.

What is Mixed Dementia?

Mixed dementia is a condition where a person exhibits symptoms and brain changes associated with more than one type of dementia. It often involves a combination of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia, though other forms can coexist as well. This complexity can make diagnosis and care particularly challenging.

It’s not uncommon for someone to be diagnosed with one type of dementia and later the diagnosis is changed to mixed dementia.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Mixed Dementia?

The signs and symptoms of mixed dementia can vary based on the combination of dementia types involved. However, common signs and symptoms include:

  • Memory Loss: Forgetfulness and difficulty recalling recent or past events.
  • Confusion: Individuals may become disoriented or easily confused, even in familiar settings.
  • Language difficulties: Struggling to find the right words or comprehend language.
  • Mood changes: Mood swings, depression, and increased irritability.
  • Impaired judgment: Difficulty making decisions or judgments.
  • Trouble with motor skills: Coordination and balance issues, often associated with vascular dementia or Lewy Body Dementia.
  • Visual and spatial problems: Difficulty with depth perception and spatial awareness.
  • Hallucinations: Seeing or hearing things that aren’t present. This is particularly prevalent when Lewy bodies are present.
  • Personality changes: Alterations in behaviour and personality traits, especially if fronto-temporal lobe dementia is involved in the mixed diagnosis.

Difficulty with daily tasks: Struggling with activities of daily living, such as dressing or grooming.


What Age is Mixed Dementia Common?

Mixed dementia can occur at various ages, but it is more commonly diagnosed in older adults. As age is a significant risk factor for dementia in general, individuals over the age of 65 are more likely to develop mixed dementia. However, it’s important to note that dementia can affect individuals in their 40s or 50s, though this is significantly less common.

What Are the 7 Stages of Mixed Dementia?

Mixed dementia often follows a progressive pattern similar to other forms of dementia because, after all, it is made up of other types of dementia. It typically advances through seven stages, much like the 7 stages of vascular dementia, or the 7 stages of Lewy Body Dementia, each characterised by specific symptoms and challenges:

  1. Stage 1: Normal Functioning
    In the early stage, individuals show no signs of dementia, and their cognitive function is normal
  2. Stage 2: Very Mild Cognitive Decline
    Minor memory lapses and forgetfulness may occur but are often attributed to normal aging
  3. Stage 3: Mild Cognitive Decline
    Early signs of dementia become more noticeable, such as memory problems and difficulty finding words
  4. Stage 4: Moderate Cognitive Decline
    Memory loss becomes more pronounced, and individuals may struggle with tasks like managing finances and planning
  5. Stage 5: Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline
    Daily functioning becomes challenging, and individuals may require assistance with tasks like dressing and bathing
  6. Stage 6: Severe Cognitive Decline
    In this stage, individuals need substantial help with daily activities, and communication becomes increasingly difficult
  7. Stage 7: Very Severe Cognitive Decline
    In the final stage, individuals may lose the ability to communicate, walk, and perform basic tasks. They require round-the-clock care.

Does Mixed Dementia Progress Quickly?

The rate of progression in mixed dementia can vary widely from person to person. Factors such as the types of dementia involved, overall health, and genetics can influence the speed of progression. Some individuals experience a more gradual decline, while others may progress more rapidly through the stages.

Often, the rate of progression in dementia is not linear. Additionally, individuals can have ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days when symptoms seem better or worse.

The Importance of Specialist Dementia Care

As mixed dementia advances, individuals often require specialised care to meet their complex needs as well as ensure the wellbeing of loved ones. The best dementia care is available in dementia care homes, where specialist staff are available 24-7, and care is structured to best meet the needs of those with dementia. Each individual benefits from their own individual care plan and home-from-home living environment, while also benefiting from the wider dementia-friendly facilities and care. This ensures a balanced, secure and supportive environment with engaging activities and therapies which can enhance the quality of life for those living with dementia.

The Signs, Symptoms and Stages of Mixed Dementia

Get in Touch

Mixed dementia is complex and often requires specialist care. We’ve supported many families where a loved one has a diagnosis of mixed dementia, ensuring the best possible care. Our specialist dementia care homes in North Devon and Somerset offer comfortable but specialist care facilities. To see for yourself, get in touch on 01769 573166.