Learn About How We Work

Dementia: How Common Is It?

A demented elderly man with his son in the kitchen of his New York apartmentWhat is dementia?

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “dementia” refers to a wide range of symptoms related to decline in memory. Because it is caused by damage to brain cells, communication between cells is impacts, resulting in a breakdown of brain function. Of the wide range of symptoms characterizing dementia, problems with the five listed below are the most common.

• Memory
• Communication and language
• Ability to focus and pay attention
• Reasoning and judgment
• Visual perception

Statistics
About 1 in 60 people have dementia. According to The National Centre on Caregiving website, there are two types of dementia: irreversible dementia, known as degenerative dementia, and reversible dementia, sometimes referred to as “pseudo dementia.”

Reversible dementia often have an underlying cause: reactions to medications, endocrine abnormalities, metabolic disturbances, emotional distress, undetected vision and hearing problems, infections and nutritional deficiencies can all play a part.
Offensive and Defensive Care
Because dementia is often progressive, it is highly recommendable to book an appointment with your doctor as soon as any memory issues arise. General check-ups are highly recommendable as well. If reversible dementia are caused by underlying issues, preventing and treating them should be paramount. It is important to remember that there are no cures for either dementia. Because of this, treatments are often aimed at improving and maximizing individual cognitive and functional abilities. Cholinesterase Inhibitors slow the rate of memory decline and improve its function. For Alzheimer’s disease, medications that inhibit the build up of chemicals thought to contribute to memory loss, is recommended. Other types of dementia can be controlled by limiting the risk factors associated with them, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Caregivers are encouraged to join support groups and classes focused on technique with which to handle a loved one with dementia. Remember that while dementia manipulates the actions of your loved ones, it does not change who you know them to be.