What Is Dementia???


As the baby boomer population ages, it is predicted that the number of persons in this country with dementia will increase. It is important we all educate ourselves on dementia and how to recognize the signs and symptoms, in order to seek out early treatment.

What EXACTLY is dementia? Simply put, dementia is a term that refers to an overall decline in memory AND other cognitive functions such as problem-solving, planning and organization, reasoning skills, attention, and judgment. It often leads to personality changes and depression. It is a result of damage or death of brain cells. Dementia is NOT simply forgetting where you put your car keys, which is a normal part of aging.

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common and well-known type of dementia, but there are several other types such as vascular dementia, Lewy Body dementia, dementia related to brain damage or alcoholism, dementia related to Parkinson’s Disease or Huntington’s Disease, frontotemporal dementia, dementia as result of Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Each type of dementia progresses differently and has varying characteristics.

The good news is there is a great deal of research being conducted on how to improve or prevent dementia. Hopefully a cure will come in our lifetime!

For more information or support services, you can visit several websites such as Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (www.alzfdn.org/), Dementia Society of America (http://www.dementiasociety.org/), and Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org).

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