A SUPER easy staging tool for dementia care!


Have more questions and don't know where to turn?

Join our community and get access to monthly support calls, an online chat forum for questions, and even monthly 1:1 calls with Rachael! CLICK HERE for more information.


Today’s topic is about my first dementia care building, the first time I was ever a dementia care director, which was many moons ago.

Every quarter, we did a staging tool. So I’d go through all of my residents and at any given time I had like 35 to 40 residents and I would put them on a stage of where they were with their dementia. It was like a one through seven scale. This was really hard and I kind of hated it because it was super hard to put numbers to people.

Well Mary Ellen, you know, has a urinary tract infection. Now she’s like a four, but normally she’s like a two and a half or a three. Okay? So I would put X’s between numbers. It was kind of a mess and I hated it, now that’s said. This past week I was visiting one of my client’s buildings and I pretty much did something similar to what I had done many moons ago at my first building. And I did this staging tool because I really wanted to showcase to the program directors, the people running programming where their residents were on a scale. And this is not very scientific, so I don’t want you to be like, “Rachael, this looks like a little crappy piece of paper, this doesn’t look very scientific.”

This should be like a 30-minute exercise. If you have like 30 to 50 residents, this shouldn’t take you super long. You and your team know your residents really well. All You’re going to do is put people’s names over here. You can see a fold of the paper just for privacy’s sake, okay? No dementia. Mild cognitive impairment, early stages, or mild dementia. Moderate and advanced.

Now, this is great if you have a very mixed population. For example, if you have a skilled nursing facility and you have people of all levels, you have some people who do not have dementia in the same wing unit, what have you done with people who have fairly advanced dementia? This is a great tool for getting a sense of where your programming needs to be. If you need to be catering to people who have more advanced cognitive impairments. Or maybe you have, you know, a situation where you, a lot of your residents are pretty early in stages and so we can do a little bit more with them programmatically. So you’re just going to put your resident’s name over here and you’re gonna go through and be like, you know, if you have a group of a couple of people who know that resident, Hey, what do you guys think? Mild cog, no, dementia is pretty obvious, right? mild cognitive impairment. This is not going to be dementia, yet.

People who could potentially live on their own, they’re just some mild forgetfulness. They’re probably aware of it, right? Early dementia, maybe in a sort of denial. You’re noticing that they’re having troubled dates, they’re having some forgetfulness, and possibly maybe some reminders of ADLs. But for the most part, they’re pretty independent, but you really wouldn’t want them living alone. Moderate dementia, a lot of your residents, if you’re in senior living, are probably gonna fall either moderate or they’re gonna be like almost no dementia, right? If this is a mixed population, moderate are going to be people who have moderate dementia. That’s a bad description. They are at a stage where they cannot be living alone, for sure. Definitely need some reminders, and some queuing for your ADLs. Maybe they need help getting in and outta the shower. Things like that, may have some timeline confusion. Mixing up dates, times, who is what, and where. And they probably at this stage are not aware that they have dementia at all or at least are not aware of the degree of their impairments and advanced dementia. This is someone who pretty much needs help with all their ADLs. And, you know, they need essentially queuing everything from place to place and need generally a good amount of physical help. So that’s a good layout. And again, not scientific shouldn’t take you that long, but just gives you a really good idea of where everybody is at the end of this. Count up how many moderates you have early, and then just literally just make a number like, okay, we’ve got, you know, six people in early stages, we’ve got 10 moderates. And it just gives you a good overall sense of where the acuity of your population is so you can create better programming that meets their needs.

Visit my Youtube channel for more tips on Dementia Care.

Liked it? Take a second to support Rachael Wonderlin on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of three published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

16 things poster
Get the FREE “16 Things” poster!

You're not alone!

Get personal support from Rachael and connect with other Caregivers when you join our community.

16 Things I Would Want If I Got Dementia

Get the FREE “16 Things” poster for your personal use—or better yet—your dementia care community’s staff break room!

I wrote this poem years ago, but to date, it’s the most popular piece I’ve ever created.

When you sign up, you’ll also get access to Rachael’s weekly newsletter so that you can get her top tips, links to new content as soon as it’s released, and special offers directly in your inbox! We’ll never sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

16 things poster
Shopping Cart

Have questions?

Book a Dementia Detective
call and talk to a DBD expert!