Skip to content

The Physical Effects of Dementia

Many caregivers for those with dementia do not realize that the more their loved one’s dementia progresses, the more their physical health will decline. Familiarizing yourself with what to expect can help you prepare for the future.

Here are 5 physical symptoms dementia can cause:

  • Jerky movements It is common for individuals in the later stages of dementia to move in a jerky manner. This is particularly true with patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Doctors are unsure why this happens.
  • Loss of appetite Dementia patients often become quite picky about the types of food they eat. It is not uncommon for a person with advanced dementia to forget how to use utensils or how to chew or swallow.
  • Difficulty swallowing The act of swallowing is surprisingly complicated, and it is not unheard of for a person with dementia to lose the ability to swallow. This puts patients at risk for dehydration. If a patient with dementia becomes dehydrated, other symptoms, like jerky movements, will only worsen.
  • Difficulties using the bathroom Unfortunately, one of the more debilitating physical effects of dementia is losing control of one’s bowels. Incontinence is one of the primary indicators that this has happened. Aides who work in dementia home care will often encourage their charges to go to the bathroom every 1-2 hours.
  • Lack of sleep In the later stages of dementia, patients often become more active at night and have severe difficulties sleeping. This is referred to as “sundowning”.

Not only is dementia devastating for the person who has it, but it is also hard on the sufferer’s loved ones,  especially the primary caregiver. Watch for signs of caregiver burnout. If you see signs of burnout in yourself, it may be time to seek help.


South Mountain Memory Care focuses on high-quality, personalized care. The brand-new building is a stand-alone memory care community, meaning that the entire building, staff, and programs are designed to cater to residents with cognitive issues. To ensure person-centered care and attention, we have accommodations for up to 28 residents. The building is divided into two neighborhoods (wings), each offering 10 private suites and 2 semi-private suites.

South Mountain Memory Care is located in the Allentown suburb of Emmaus, Pennsylvania, and it is easily accessible from the Lehigh Valley, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. For more information, go to

Schedule a Tour