According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), dementia is not a specific disease but the name for a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain. People with dementia may not be able to think well enough to do normal activities, such as getting dressed or eating. Individuals may lose their ability to solve problems or control their emotions and their personalities may change. They may become agitated or see things that are not there. Memory loss is also a common symptom of dementia; however, memory loss by itself does not mean dementia is present. People with dementia have serious problems with two or more brain functions, such as memory and language. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of a progressive dementia.
Learn more about dementia from these online sources:
U.S. National Library of Medicine
World Health Organization (WHO)
What can you do if you or a loved one may be exhibiting symptoms of dementia?
The first step you should take is to contact a physician. A doctor can perform a precursory examination and recommend further evaluation from an appropriate specialist. There are many conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia and an accurate diagnosis is necessary in order to receive proper treatment.
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be a very difficult and emotionally trying process. Here are some online resources that may be helpful:
Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center
Caregiver’s Guide to Understanding Dementia Behaviors
Dementia, Caregiving and Controlling Frustration
Support for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers
If you are feeling overwhelmed and would like to talk to someone, please call the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Helpline at 800-272-3900
If you are experiencing a crisis please call 911 or the number listed below, or go to the emergency department at the nearest hospital.
National Hopeline Network 800-784-2433
The above information was compiled for Box of Stars by the Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation (TSBHF). The resources listed are not those of TSBHF. The provided information should not replace seeking medical attention.