Dementia is not a specific disease. Rather, it is a variety of symptoms that occur in addition to memory and cognitive reduction that impacts an individual’s daily functioning. It is important to note that dementia is not the same as “senility,” or the physical decline associated with aging. Losing mental functioning is not an expected or normal aspect of growing older.
Alzheimer’s disease constitutes for 60 to 80 percent of all dementia cases, making it the most common. Vascular dementia, which can be caused by a stroke, is the second most common form of this condition.
For a doctor to medically diagnose an individual with dementia, two or more of the following functions must be negatively impacted in a person’s everyday life.
- Focus and attention
- Visual perception
- Judgment and reasoning
- Language and communication skills
Short-term memory recall may present a challenge for people with dementia, such as having trouble locating personal belongings, difficulty completing household tasks like cooking dinner or getting to appointments outside of the neighborhood.
It’s important to understand that some types of dementia are progressive, meaning symptoms will worsen over time. This is why it’s critical to see a doctor as soon as possible for proper diagnosis, treatment and management of the disorder.