Dementia is caused by a number of diseases that affect the brain. The most common is Alzheimer's but diseases also include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and Pick's disease.
Different types of dementia affect the brain at different rates and in different ways, but other things like someone's personal circumstances, the people around them and the environment in which they live, will affect their experience of dementia. Dementia progresses in a way that is unique to each individual.
It is true that more people over 65 have dementia but it is not exclusively an older person's disease; younger people get dementia too.
Five things you need to know about dementia:
- Dementia is not a normal part of aging. Not everyone who grows old will develop dementia.
- Dementia is caused by Diseases of the brain. The most common is Alzheimer’s.
- Dementia is not just about having memory problems. It can affect thinking, communication and doing everyday tasks.
- It is possible to have a good quality of life with dementia.
- There’s more to the person than the dementia. People with dementia are a valuable part of the community.
To learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and other related dementia, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website
What difficulties do people with dementia have?
Dementia often starts with short-term memory loss but it can also affect the way that people think, speak and do things. People with dementia can become confused, find it difficult to communicate, as they can't remember the words that they want, and can have difficulties planning.
Dementia also affects people's moods and motivations. This can happen if the disease affects that part of the brain that controls emotions, but even if this does not happen, people with dementia can feel sad, frightened, frustrated or angry about what is happening to them.
However, with a helping hand, people living with dementia can still enjoy their hobbies, have good relationships with partners and friends and live independently for longer.