What is dementia?

Dementia is a collective name for progressive degenerative brain syndromes which affect memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion. Symptoms may include:

  • loss of memory
  • difficulty in finding the right words or understanding what people are saying
  • difficulty in performing previously routine tasks
  • personality and mood changes

There are a large number of conditions which cause the symptoms of dementia, as a result of changes that happen in the brain and the ultimate loss of nerve cells (neurons). The most common causes are:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Vascular dementia
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Fronto-temporal dementia (including Pick’s disease)

Dementia knows no social, economic, ethnic or geographical boundaries. Although each person will experience dementia in their own way, eventually those affected are unable to care for themselves and need help with all aspects of daily life. There is currently no cure for most types of dementia, but treatments, advice, and support are available.

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