What is Dementia?
Dementia is a broad category of brain diseases that causes gradual loss of the ability to think and reason clearly.
Symptoms include deterioration in memory, thinking speed. mental agility, language, understanding and judgment on a level that affects everyday living.
People with dementia can lose interest in their usual activities, and may have problems controlling their emotions.
They will find social situations challenging, and aspects of their personality may change. They may become unpredictable, lose empathy and even see and hear things that others do not.
Planning and organising may become difficult, which makes maintaining independence a problem. People with dementia usually need constant help from friends or relatives, including help with decision-making.
Although there is currently no cure for this condition, an early diagnosis can help people with dementia get the right treatment and support. so it is really, really important to speak to your GP. As a carer getting the correct diagnosis for your loved one can also help you to prepare for the future and help you access the resources that you will need to help you both.
Looking after somebody with dementia can be draining physically, emotionally and even demanding financially.
Husbands, partners and wives have to come to terms with the irreversible and upsetting changes in their relationships, coupled with the gradual loss of the loved one they once knew. It can be a very difficult experience, although each person is unique, with their own life experiences and character - Dementia will not effect everyone in exactly the same way.
looking after someone with Dementia can feel very lonely. Being cut off from former social circles can also bring feelings of isolation. Joining your local dementia care community can help to combat these feelings by introducing you to other people in a similar situation, as well as people who are trained to help and support you in your role of looking after a loved one.
Common early symptoms of dementia
Different types of dementia can affect people differently, and everyone will experience symptoms in their own way.
However, there are some common early symptoms that may appear some time before a diagnosis of dementia. These include:
finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks, such as getting confused over the correct change when shopping
struggling to follow a conversation or find the right word
being confused about time and place
These symptoms are often mild and may get worse only very gradually. It's often termed "mild cognitive impairment" (MCI) as the symptoms are not severe enough to be diagnosed as dementia.
You might not notice these symptoms if you have them, and family and friends may not notice or take them seriously for some time. In some people, these symptoms will remain the same and not worsen. But some people with MCI will go on to develop dementia.
Dementia is not a natural part of ageing. This is why it's important to talk to a GP sooner rather than later if you're worried about memory problems or other symptoms.
What is dementia - Alzheimers Society (3)
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