What is Dementia

The Alzheimer's Reading Room states:  "Dementia is the gradual deterioration of mental functioning, such as concentration, memory, and judgment, which affects a person’s ability to perform normal daily activities."

Dementia is elsewhere described as a chronic and usually progressive loss of cognitive ability as a result of brain disease or injury.  Dementia can bring on impaired reasoning, memory loss, and personality changes.  The rate of changes observed in a person with dementia is not set and the speed of progression varies from person to person.

Dementia is not a single disease or disorder.  It is a term that describes a collection of symptoms.  Dementia has no single cause.  Dementia is not curable but it may be treatable.  There are conditions which may mimic dementia which are curable such as dehydration.

Symptoms can include but are not limited to:

  • Verbal repetition
  • Not being able to follow directions
  • Losing the sense of time
  • Neglecting safety, hygiene and nutrition
  • Forgetting people
  • Forgetting places and getting lost
  • Forgetting acquired, long used skills
  • Getting easily distracted and leaving in the middle of a task
  • Anxiety when there are changes in routine

Additional Information Sources:
Psych Central
Medicine Net
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


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