Dementia is the term used to describe the deterioration of brain function that results in loss of memory, reduced language skills, impaired reasoning and loss of daily living skills. There are over 100 different types of dementia, the most common being Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. An individual may have a combination of different causes of dementia; in particular Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Each of these diseases tends to affect particular areas of the brain and will cause different changes in a person’s behaviour. Dementia affects one person in 20 aged over 65 and one person in five over 80. In New Zealand in 2008 over 40,000 people were affected by dementia and by 2026 this number is predicted to rise to 75,000. You are not alone in supporting a loved one who has Dementia.
Although there are common symptoms of dementia, each individual can be affected in different ways. Depending on the type and progression of dementia, symptoms can include:
However, these symptoms do not always mean dementia. They can also be caused by stress, depression, diabetes, vitamin deficiency, infections or many other illnesses. It is therefore always important for the person to be examined by a doctor and an accurate diagnosis made, possibly by a specialist.
For information about Alzheimer's research visit alz.org research center