Dementia describes a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with your daily life. It affects memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language, and judgement. Consciousness is not affected. It isn’t a specific disease, but several different diseases may cause dementia.
- Memory loss
- Difficulty communicating or finding words
- Difficulty with visual and spatial abilities
- Difficulty reasoning or problem-solving
- Difficulty handling complex tasks
- Difficulty with planning and organizing
- Difficulty with coordination and motor functions
- Confusion and disorientation
- Personality changes
- Inappropriate behavior
- Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia.
- Vascular dementia. This second most common type of dementia is caused by damage to the vessels that supply blood to your brain. most common symptoms of vascular dementia include difficulties with problem-solving, slowed thinking, focus and organization.
- Lewy body dementia. Common signs and symptoms include acting out one’s dreams in sleep, seeing things that aren’t there (visual hallucinations), and problems with focus and attention.
- Frontotemporal dementia. Common symptoms affect behavior, personality, thinking, judgment, and language and movement.
- Mixed dementia.
Signs and symptoms
Early stage: the early stage of dementia is often overlooked, because the onset is gradual. Common symptoms include:
- losing track of the time
- Becoming lost in familiar places.
Middle stage: as dementia progresses to the middle stage, the signs and symptoms become clearer and more restricting. These include:
- becoming forgetful of recent events and people’s names
- becoming lost at home
- having increasing difficulty with communication
- needing help with personal care
- Experiencing behaviour changes, including wandering and repeated questioning.
Late stage: the late stage of dementia is one of near total dependence and inactivity. Memory disturbances are serious and the physical signs and symptoms become more obvious. Symptoms include:
- becoming unaware of the time and place
- having difficulty recognizing relatives and friends
- having an increasing need for assisted self-care
- having difficulty walking