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What is dementia?

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Dementia is a progressive disorder that affects how the brain works.

The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory problems, difficulty concentrating, struggling with planning and attention, difficulties with language and sometimes changes in a person’s mood or personality.

These symptoms may range from mild, where they may be difficult to recognise at first to so severe that it affects someone’s day to day life.

Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged in some way, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of damage but not the only one. Dementia caused following a series of strokes is often referred to a vascular dementia. Some people may have more than one disease process affecting them and they may be diagnosed with a Mixed Type dementia.  

There is currently no cure for dementia although getting a diagnosis in the early stages can identify treatments which can slow down the deterioration and help prepare and plan for the future.

The symptoms of dementia will worsen over time and at different rates for different people. There are a number of sources of help support people during the changes and discuss what might help in that situation.

There are lots of ways of helping people with dementia live a full and happy life. These range from simple adaptations in the home to support from health and social care professionals, to financial help.

What dementia isn’t

Dementia is not a disease in itself but a group of symptoms.

It is not an inevitable part of ageing, although your risk of developing it does increase with age.

Having dementia does not automatically mean you have to go into a care home or hospital

For more information:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia/about/

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/conditions-illnesses/dementia/#

https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/about-dementia/types-dementia/what-dementia