What is dementia?

Dementia is a term used to describe a large group of conditions affecting the brain which cause a progressive decline in a person’s functioning.

Common symptoms include:

  • memory loss;

  • language and communication difficulties;

  • loss of ability to perform everyday tasks;

  • and changes in behaviour and emotions.

Dementia is not a normal part of ageing, although it is more common in older people and affects approximately one in three people over the age of 85.

Younger people can develop dementia as well. The term Younger/Working Age Dementia is used to describe dementia occurring in people aged under 65 years.

The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease (50-70% of all cases), but there are many other types including vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and Lewy Body disease.

At present there is no prevention or cure for dementia however some medications have been found to relieve some symptoms in some people.

Psycho-social approaches, tailored to the person, are the safest and most effective options to respond to changes in behaviour.

Although the symptoms of dementia progress over time, there is much we can do to improve the person’s quality of life.

For many people, changes in behaviour occur as dementia advances. This is due to the deterioration of the brain and contributing factors like untreated pain, anxiety or fatigue and is outside the control of the person with dementia.

For help with changes in behaviour related to dementia, please contact DBMAS via our 24 hour helpline 1800 699 799.

More information can be found in Resources and Useful Links.