What is Dementia ?

Dementia is a word used to describe a wide range of symptoms associated with the deterioration of the brain which affects memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks.

Symptoms differ from person to person but can affect orientation, perception, understanding, memory, decision making, ability to learn, communication and judgement. The exact symptoms that a person with dementia will experience very much depends on the areas of the brain that are damaged and the specific disease that is causing the dementia.

Dementia interferes with our ability to do things that we used to be able to manage. These changes may be discreet to begin with but is a progressive illness. Therefore, as time goes by it will affect our abilities and more areas of our life as we live with dementia.

Dementia can and does affect people of any age but is more common in people after the age of 65 years.

Types of Dementia

Here is a list of some of the more common groups of diseases that are called dementia:

• Alzheimer’s disease
• Vascular dementia
• Mixed dementia (combination of more than one dementia)
• Dementia with Lewy Bodies
• Frontal Lobe (or Frontotemporal) dementia (also known as Pick’s disease)
• Posterior Cortical Atrophy
• Korsakoff’s Syndrome

Dementia can also accompany other conditions:

• Multiple Sclerosis
• Parkinson’s
• Down Syndrome

Life does not end with a diagnosis of dementia – you can still live life well with understanding and the right support.