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Dementia is a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) that is associated with an ongoing decline of the brain and its abilities. These include:
People with dementia may also become apathetic, have problems controlling their emotions or behaving appropriately in social situations. Aspects of their personality may change or they may see or hear things that other people do not, or have false beliefs.
The word ‘dementia’ describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia they have become severe enough to affect daily life. A person with dementia may also experience changes in their mood or behaviour. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease or a series of strokes. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, but not the only one. The specific symptoms that someone with dementia experiences will depend on the parts of the brain that are damaged and the disease that is causing the dementia. Please click on the Alzheimer’s Society link in our useful links section for more details on the different types of dementia.
People with dementia usually need help from friends or relatives, including help in making decisions.
How common is dementia?
Dementia is a common condition. In England alone, there are currently 820,000 people living with dementia. That number is expected to double over the next 30 years.
Today, caring takes into account the whole person, as they were, and as they are now. This approach is known as ‘person-centred care.
- Person-centred care means seeing the person with dementia as a unique individual with a rich history, experience, abilities, skills, knowledge, preferences, desires and personality.
- A person with dementia is just that – a person first.