What is Dementia – About Dementia
Definition of Dementia
What is dementia? The definition dementia as a loss of cognitive ability that is at levels beyond what would be expected as a result of normal aging. Memory loss is the symptom most commonly associated with dementia; however, it alone is not enough for a diagnosis of dementia. There are numerous signs and symptoms of dementia and at least two must be present for a period of at least 6 months for the diagnosis to be made.
The American Heritage Medical Dictionary defines dementia as: [the] deterioration of intellectual faculties, such as memory, concentration, and judgment, resulting from an organic disease or a disorder of the brain, and often accompanied by emotional disturbance and personality changes.
Dementia is not one single disease but is rather an umbrella syndrome that includes many different forms, including: Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies. The easiest way to think about it is that each of the diseases under the umbrella term ‘dementia’ are diseases that lead to the symptoms of dementia. Not all forms of dementia cause the same symptoms, but there is quite a lot of overlap; therefore, diagnosis of the underlying causes is not always clear cut.
Learn what the difference between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia is.
Dementia affects a person’s ability to learn, reason, and recall information, leading to difficulties in performing familiar tasks and remembering familiar names, dates, and places. It also affects attention, language, and problem solving, and can lead to personality changes and behaviour disorders. Short-term memory is generally first to go, with further symptoms revealing themselves as the dementia progresses.
There are two classifications of dementia: static, which would be the result of a brain injury, and progressive, which leads to a long-term decline due to disease. Although it is most common in the geriatric population, dementia can also develop in people before the age of 65.
Reading about the affects of dementia on a person can be eye opening, but experiencing these changes first hand can be tremendously complex. The reason that many of these symptoms exist is because people with dementia can sense these changes, thereby feeling out of control, causing changes in mood and often aggression.
Forms of Dementia:
What We Can Do To Help:
Put yourselves in their shoes. Feeling out of control can be so difficult and not having the ability the regain control is even more frustrating. At Dementia Support we have created error free activities with visual support which allows a person with dementia to engage in life activities that are familiar to them and regain some control over their lives. Supporting both the person with dementia and the caregiver allows the entire family structure to improve. Our activities and approach give the person with dementia a purpose and sense of accomplishment. This is the ultimate goal when caring for people with dementia.
For more information please contact us.