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Understanding Physical Changes That Accompany Dementia

Understanding Physical Changes That Accompany Dementia | Caregiver Bliss

Dementia is a complex and challenging condition that affects not only a person's memory and thinking but also their physical health. It's important to know that dementia is not just a mental health issue; it also brings about significant physical changes. 

In this article, we'll explore some of the physical changes that can occur with dementia, offering insights to help you better understand this condition.


Motor Skills and Coordination

One of the noticeable physical changes in individuals with dementia is a decline in their motor skills and coordination. As the condition progresses, it can become challenging for them to perform everyday tasks like walking, eating, or even getting dressed. This decline in motor skills can make them more susceptible to accidents, such as falls or injuries.


Muscle Weakness

Dementia can lead to muscle weakness over time. The lack of physical activity and reduced mobility can cause muscles to become weaker. As a result, individuals with dementia may find it increasingly difficult to stand up, move around, or maintain their balance. Muscle weakness can also contribute to a decline in their overall physical health.


Weight Loss or Gain

Changes in eating habits are common among people with dementia. Some individuals may lose interest in food or forget to eat, leading to unintended weight loss. Others may experience increased appetite and make poor food choices, which can result in weight gain. Monitoring and maintaining a healthy weight becomes challenging for those with dementia.


Swallowing Difficulties

Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, is another physical change that can come with dementia. Individuals may have trouble chewing and swallowing their food properly, which can increase the risk of choking and aspiration pneumonia. It's important for caregivers to be aware of these difficulties and adjust their diet accordingly.


Hygiene and Self-Care

As dementia progresses, personal hygiene and self-care can become major challenges. People with dementia may forget to bathe, brush their teeth, or change their clothes. This decline in personal hygiene can lead to skin problems, infections, and other health issues. Caregivers often need to assist with these daily routines.


Sleep Disturbances

Dementia can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to frequent awakenings during the night and daytime drowsiness. This can affect not only the person with dementia but also their caregivers. Sleep disturbances may exacerbate other physical and mental health issues, making it crucial to address this aspect of care.



Incontinence, the inability to control one's bladder or bowels, is a common physical change associated with dementia. It can be distressing for both individuals with dementia and their caregivers. To manage this, caregivers often need to provide appropriate care, including helping with toileting, using protective garments, and maintaining good hygiene.



Dementia is a condition that goes beyond memory loss and cognitive decline. It also brings about various physical changes that affect a person's overall well-being. Recognizing and understanding these physical changes is vital for providing proper care and support to those living with dementia.

Caregivers, family members, and friends of individuals with dementia play a critical role in helping manage these physical changes. With patience, compassion, and the right knowledge, we can improve the quality of life for those affected by dementia and provide the necessary support they need to live comfortably and safely.


We hope you found our article on the physical changes that come with dementia informative and enlightening. Dementia affects not only the mind but the entire body, and understanding these physical changes is crucial for providing better care. We'd love to hear your thoughts, experiences, and any additional insights you may have. Please share your comments below, and let's continue the conversation about dementia and how we can support those affected by this challenging condition.


Dementia Resource Page

Dig deeper into understanding dementia. Visit our comprehensive Dementia Resource Page for valuable insights, practical tips, and expert guidance on navigating the complexities of dementia and striving to provide the best possible quality of life for your loved one.


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