It may surprise you to learn that dementia is not a specific disease. Rather, it is an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person's ability to perform everyday activities.
One of the most prevalent forms of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, which accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases. The second most common type is vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke.
The greatest known risk for Alzheimer's is increasing age. This means the majority of people with this disease are 65 years of age and older. There are however some people younger than 65 that may also be afflicted.
In the early stages of Alzheimer’s, people have mild memory loss. Individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment over time.
Watch for these ten warning signs of dementia:
- Memory loss that disrupts routines
- Challenges in planning or solving problems
- Difficulty in completing familiar tasks
- Confusion with time or place
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
- New problems with words in speaking or writing
- Misplacing things
- Decreased judgment
- Withdrawal from work or social activities
- Changes in mood and personality.
It is important to remember that you may become the point person for decisions about care, living options, financial or legal matters for your loved ones living with dementia.
Despite the challenges that may occur while being around people with dementia, remember to be grateful for the blessings and gifts of family and friends.