What is Dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term referring to a range of neurological conditions that affect a person’s brain condition over time. Dementia affects a person’s cognitive abilities such as their ability to think, remember, and reason to levels that interfere with daily life

Check out this short video from the National Institute on Aging about dementia. What is dementia?

There are five key messages to be aware of when thinking about dementia.

  1. Dementia is not just about memory loss. Dementia can look different depending on the person and the type of dementia they are living with. Memory problems are a common sign of dementia, but not for everyone. Other common symptoms of dementia include confusion and needing help with daily tasks, problems with language and understanding, and changes in behaviors.

Click here for more signs and symptoms of dementia.  

2. Dementia is not a normal part of aging. Everyone may forget a thing or two as they age, but dementia is not a normal part of aging. Dementia is the result of changes in certain brain regions, depending on the type of dementia, that cause neurons in the brain to stop functioning properly.

3. Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain. There are over a hundred types of dementia and they each affect a person’s brain in different ways. Below are some of the most common forms of dementia.

4. People can still live well with dementia. Although there is no cure for dementia, there are still many supports, treatments, and non-pharmacological approaches that help people living with dementia to continue to live healthy and active lives. It is important for people living with dementia to stay as cognitively stimulated and active as possible, which can help boost memory, self-esteem and avoid the negative impacts of social isolation.

5. There is more to a person than a dementia diagnosis. There have been reports of people living with dementia for decades after receiving a diagnosis, depending on the type of dementia, age of diagnosis and progression of the dementia. A person living with dementia can still enjoy activities, focus their energy on meaningful aspects of their life, be a part of the community and live well!

Dementia Friendly America is dedicated to ensuring that communities across the U.S are equipped to support people living with dementia and their care partners through our mission to increase dementia awareness, reduce stigma, and provide quality dementia-friendly resources, education and support that fosters the creation of communities where people living with dementia and their care partners can live, engage and thrive in community with others.