Dementia is not one specific condition but describes a collection of symptoms including memory loss, difficulties with problem-solving, language and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Dementia is progressive which means symptoms will worsen over time. There are many different conditions which can cause dementia but the most common are:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Vascular dementia
- Lewy body disease
- Frontotemporal dementia
Dementia can happen to anybody but the risk increases with age. Although most people with dementia are older it is important to remember that dementia is not a normal part of aging. Less commonly people under the age of 65 years can develop dementia and this is called younger onset dementia.
Dementia affects people in different ways and the symptoms experienced by a person with dementia will depend on the area of the brain affected. Memory loss is not experienced by everyone with dementia but it is the most common symptom 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.
Dementia will progress over time. Concentration, understanding and the ability to reason and respond may become more difficult. People with dementia may also experience confusion, distress, mood changes and aggression as they struggle with the frustrations of everyday life