Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain
There are lots of causes and no two types of dementia are the same. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, damage the structure and chemistry of the brain, causing nerve cells to die.
Alzheimer’s disease often starts slowly and progresses gradually. Vascular dementia after a stroke can progress in a stepped way, meaning the symptoms are stable for a while and then can suddenly get worse.
Everyone experiences dementia differently and this can be affected by many things. Their attitude to the diagnosis, their physical health and the treatment and support they get all affect how they deal with it.
It isn’t just about losing your memory
Somebody with dementia might repeat themselves and have problems remembering things that have happened recently, but dementia can also affect the way people speak, think, feel, and behave.
Symptoms below can gradually get worse over time, which vary from person to person.
- Difficulty concentrating
- Problems planning and thinking things through
- Struggling with familiar daily tasks
- Difficulty keeping up with a conversation
- Problems judging distances
- Mood changes and difficulty controlling emotions
People can still have a good quality of life with dementia
Although there is no cure, support and treatments are available that can help with the symptoms and help to manage daily life. They can allow people who have dementia to still lead active lives with purpose and keep on doing the things they enjoy.
Things that may help with the symptoms:
- Cognitive stimulation such as word puzzles or discussing current affairs
- Life story work – creating a book with memories and experiences with a carer or nurse
- Keeping as active as possible – this should help to boost memory and self-esteem – helping to avoid depression
Dementia is not a natural part of getting old
As we get older we often forget a name or face… but dementia is something different.
It isn’t just a natural part of ageing and it doesn’t just affect older people. Over 40,000 people under 65 in the UK have early onset or young onset of dementia.
If you are worried about your own or someone else’s memory loss – make an appointment with your GP. They can check for symptoms and take next steps to find out what is causing the memory problems.
Do not suffer in silence – the quicker you speak to your GP, the sooner you can get the advice and support you need and take actions.