1. Home
  2. Dementia Commitment
  3. Understanding dementia

2. Understanding dementia


There are a lot of myths about dementia. How many of these have you heard before?

[Select each one to see what it’s really like to live with dementia.]

Myth: "Dementia is just a part of ageing"

Myth: "Only really old people get it."

Myth: "Dementia destroys the person leaving an empty shell behind."

Myth: "Dementia is just when you become forgetful."

Do you know how many people are estimated to be living with dementia worldwide?

47 million

What is dementia?

Dementia is an intellectual disability. It is caused by the brain being damaged by diseases that get worse over time, and which cannot be treated. The most common cause is Alzheimer’s Disease.

Find out how people can be affected by dementia.


Struggling to remember what you've just done or what you were about to do


Getting lost in familiar places


Forgetting the names of your friends, whānau or everyday objects


Difficulty following conversations


Not being able to find the right words


Struggling to make sense of your thoughts

What is dementia like for me?

How does dementia affect the brain?

Each part of the brain is responsible for a different thing.

When a person is affected by dementia, it can become very difficult to do the everyday things we take for granted. Dementia stops their brain from working properly.

Types of dementia

There are many types of dementia. Some are more common than others.

[Use the right and left arrows to select and learn about four types of dementia.]

1. Kia ora

Go back

3. Person first, dementia second

Learn more