Dementia refers to a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. Dementia can happen to anyone, but it is more common after the age of 65-years. People in their 40’s and 50’s can also have dementia.
The early signs of dementia can be very subtle and vague, and may not be immediately obvious. People with early signs of dementia may become less motivated to do the things that previously interested them, or reluctant to part from familiar surroundings or routines. They may have difficulty finding the right words, or may repeat themselves. As dementia advances, concentration, understanding, and the ability to reason and respond may deteriorate.
Dementia is not one specific disease, rather, it is a broad term that describes a loss of memory, intellect, social skills, and unusual emotional reactions. There are a number of different forms of dementia.
The best known and most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, accounting for 50%-70% of all cases. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative condition that affects the brain.
Not everyone experiences memory loss, but it is one of the main symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. We all forget things from time to time, but the loss of memory with dementia is different: it is persistent and progressive, not just occasional. It may affect the ability to continue to work, and to carry out familiar tasks. It may mean having difficulty finding the way home. Eventually it may mean forgetting how to dress or bathe, or recognising family and friends.
An example of normal forgetfulness is walking into a room and forgetting what you went there for, or misplacing your car keys. A person with dementia however, may lose the car keys and then forget what they are used for.
MindTree Psychology offers support, information, and counselling for those living with dementia. Contact us today to see how we can help.