What is dementia?

 We probably all think we know a little bit about dementia and what it is.   The following information from Alzheimer’s Society provides an overview of dementia with some surprising facts – did you know it wasn’t a natural part of ageing? 

What is dementia?
Dementia is an umbrella term. The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease or a series of strokes.

Dementia isn't a natural part of ageing. It occurs when the brain is affected by a disease.
There are many known causes of dementia – probably more than 100. The most common types are Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. Some people have a combination of these, known as mixed dementia.
  • It is predicted there will be around 850,000 people in the UK with dementia in 2015.
  • The chance of developing dementia increases significantly with age. One in 14 people over 65 years of age, and one in six people over 80, has dementia. It is more common among women than men.
  • More than 40,000 younger people (under the age of 65) in the UK have dementia. This is called early-onset or young-onset dementia.
Everyone experiences dementia in their own way. Different types of dementia can also affect people differently. Common symptoms include: 
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty thinking things through and planning
  • Problems communicating:
  • Being confused about time or place
  • Sight and visual difficulties
  • Mood changes or difficulties controlling emotions.
Dementia is generally progressive, which means that symptoms gradually get worse over time. How quickly it progresses varies greatly from person to person. Many people with dementia maintain their independence for many years.
Understanding and Respecting the Person with Dementia
It's very important that people with dementia are treated with respect. It is important to remember that a person with dementia is still a unique and valuable human being, despite their illness. Click here for the Understanding and Respecting the Person with Dementia guide.
The Dementia Guide
Take a look at the Dementia Guide, it is for anyone living with dementia and their close friends and family.
Help Us Raise Funds for Alzheimer's Society
Belfast Memory Walk takes place at the beautiful setting of Stormont Estate on Saturday 26 September, starting at 11am.   Residents, tenants, staff, friends and family will be joining Fold to take part in the walk and we'd love you to come along!  A majestic spot for a day of great fundraising fun and fresh air! Choose the shorter 2km walk and head round through the woodland, past the Reconciliation Sculpture on tarmac paths – a great route for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Support us with the more difficult route which is just over 6km and those challenging hills deliver some of our favourite, breathtaking views (unfortunately not accessible to wheelchairs). The routes are subject to change.
Join thousands of other people who have been affected by dementia at this year’s Memory Walk.
Fold Housing Association is grateful to Alzheimer’s Society for permission to use the above information from their website and their literature.