Dementia

There are different kinds of Dementia and “Alzheimer’s Disease” is the most common. Dementia is a lot more common the older you get, but it can happen to younger people too.

Dementia is the term used to describe a set of symptoms including problems with:

  • Memory loss
  • Thinking speed
  • Mood changes
  • Understanding
  • Judgement

The symptoms happen because of damage to the brain – as the disease or damage worsens you might get new symptoms or your symptoms might get worse.

Symptoms

Dementia is normally progressive, meaning it gets worse over time. Early symptoms might include:

  • losing items (eg keys, glasses) around the house
  • struggling to find the right word in a conversation or forgetting someone's name
  • forgetting about recent conversations or events
  • getting lost in a familiar place or on a familiar journey
  • forgetting appointments or anniversaries

Dementia affects everyone differently and can have lots of different symptoms.  There can be other causes for these symptoms, so if you have any concerns speak to your GP – early diagnosis can make a big difference.

Diagnosis

If you are worried about Dementia or think you have any of these symptoms you should speak to your GP.  There is no single test for Dementia but a GP or specialist can do a number of different tests to rule out other conditions or diagnose Dementia.

Treatment

There is no cure for Dementia, but there is medication that can help with symptoms relating to memory, mood and behaviour.

There are also treatments like brain exercises to help with memory and language skills, and physical activity can help with mobility and help you stay independent.

Other techniques that give regular reminders of time and place and routine can help if a person with dementia feels disorientated. For more information on Diagnosis and Treatment visit Age Scotland.

Living with Dementia

With support from family, friends and your GP you can learn to live well with Dementia. There is some good advice from the NHS for people with Dementia, their families and carers here.

Keeping mentally well and physically active and eating well in later life are all important in staying well in body and mind.