What is dementia?
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. This factsheet explains what dementia is, including the causes and symptoms, and how it is diagnosed and treated. It also looks at some of the different types of dementia. - Alzheimer's Society
Symptoms of dementia
Every person is unique and dementia affects people differently - no two people will have symptoms that develop in exactly the same way. An individual's personality, general health and social situation are all important factors in determining the impact of dementia on him or her.
Symptoms vary between Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia, but there are broad similarities between them all. The most common signs are memory loss and the loss of practical abilities, which can lead to withdrawal from work or social activities. If you think that these problems are affecting your daily life, or the life of someone you know, you should talk to your doctor, or encourage them to talk to theirs. - Alzheimer's Disease International
Is there a cure for dementia?
The concept that dementia is a disease rather than an inevitable side effect of ageing (so-called senile dementia) has been around for over 100 years but after over a century of research, there's still a lot we don't know about the condition and if dementia can be cured.
Dementia charities have argued, with some justification, that there is a lack of funding for research into dementia compared with research into treatments for other long-term conditions, such as cancer. However, many areas of research may lead to more effective treatments and, possibly, a cure for dementia. Inevitably, such treatments are many years, probably decades, of hard work away. Even without a cure, there is reason to believe that a continuous improvement in the standards of dementia care can be achieved. - NHS
There are several organisations across the UK that provide solutions for dementia patients to make a life with dementia more easily manageable, even in the later stages of the disease. My Life Films gives people living with dementia the opportunity to create a free biographical life film about their lives to help remember and celebrate their life. It also allows the carer to gain a better understanding of the specific needs of the person living with dementia, which means that they are provided with a higher quality of care.
More about My Life Films More about the benefits of using My Life Films
How does one get diagnosed?
A range of tests and diagnostic procedures is needed to diagnose dementia, but there are several that are fairly commonly used to diagnose dementia. These tests for dementia are mainly tests of mental abilities, blood tests and brain scans.
Read more about the diagnosis of dementia HERE.
Who is usually affected by dementia?
Worldwide, around 47 million people have dementia, with nearly 60% living in low- and middle-income countries. Every year, there are 9.9 million new cases. The estimated proportion of the general population aged 60 and over with dementia at a given time is between 5 to 8 per 100 people.
The total number of people with dementia is projected to near 75 million in 2030 and almost triple by 2050 to 132 million. Much of this increase is attributable to the rising numbers of people with dementia living in low- and middle-income countries.
Although age is the strongest known risk factor for dementia, it is not an inevitable consequence of ageing. Further, dementia does not exclusively affect older people – young onset dementia (defined as the onset of symptoms before the age of 65 years) accounts for up to 9% of cases. Some research has shown a relationship between the development of cognitive impairment and life-style related risk factors that are shared with other noncommunicable diseases. These risk factors include physical inactivity, obesity, unbalanced diets, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol, diabetes, and midlife hypertension. Additional modifiable risk factors include depression, low educational attainment, social isolation, and cognitive inactivity. - World Health Organisation
We create FREE biographical films for people living with dementia by capturing their unique story in a film to help celebrate and remember their lives.
The films help to improve the quality of life of the person with dementia and act as an innovative care tool during all stages of the disease.
This is a free service for people living with dementia.