What is Dementia?

Dementia is not a disease and is not a normal part of ageing. Dementia describes the symptoms of a large collection of diseases which cause a progressives decline in a person's ability to function normally and independently, and individuals regularly experience confusion and stress as they try to function a normal as possibe.

 
Tim with his area of study.. the human brain.

Tim with his area of study.. the human brain.

 

Dementia - \ de-men-tia \ noun.  - A chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning.

You may not know that dementia is not a disease and dementia is not a normally part of ageing.

Dementia describes the symptoms of a large collection of diseases which cause a progressive decline in a person’s ability to function ‘normally’ and ‘independently’, and individuals regularly experience confusion and stress as they try is function a normal as possible.

 Diseases associated with dementia, progressively destroy parts of a person’s brain and they gradually lose memory, lose the ability to think and rationalise, lose everyday social skills, and ultimately they lose the ability to perform everyday tasks.             

Some of the symptoms of dementia.

Some of the symptoms of dementia.

 

We know that dementia is a challenging topic to discuss and is regularly avoided. We know that many people associate stigma and fear with dementia, and will actively avoid the subject whenever they can. But evading the subject does not support those with the condition and/or their families. Avoidance only increases social isolation, loneliness, stigma, fear, and increases the burden of family carers

Some of the 100 plus diseases that cause dementia.

Some of the 100 plus diseases that cause dementia.

 

In February 2019, Dementia Australia, estimated that more than 450,000 Australians are living with the degenerative disorder of dementia. Without a medical breakthrough, this number is expected to more than double to 900,000 by 2050.

Currently in Australia, every week there are 1800 individuals diagnosed with dementia. That is 1 new case every 6 mins. Dementia is the 2nd leading cause of death in Australia and there is no cure, but there are strategies and support networks available to help individuals and their families.

Furthermore, individuals can experience confusion and memory loss due to many medical reasons that may appear as dementia. These many include but not limited to delirium and/or depression. Consulting your family doctor (G.P.) or a Geriatrician is critical to obtain a correct diagnosis, especially if you are concerned about a loved one.

But individuals are reluctant to seek medical advice and there are barriers that prevent individuals seeing their doctor. These include:- Fear, Misunderstanding, Stigma, Media stereotypes, Misinformation and Misconceptions.

Avoiding the topic of dementia does not serve you or your loved one.