Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe various neurological conditions which all damage brain cells and lead to a loss of brain function. It includes Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and more than 100 other types. Dementia is not a normal part of ageing.
Dementia is characterised by a deterioration in memory and in a person's ability to:
Dementia may also affect a person's mood, movement, personality and behaviour.
Read more about dementia symptoms
There are more than 100 different types of dementia. The most common forms are:
Read more about types of dementia
Dementia is a progressive disease, which means the symptoms will get worse over time. How fast this will occur will depend on the type of dementia and which area of the brain is affected.
Progression can also differ from person to person, meaning that each person will have their own, unique experience with dementia.
The earlier a person gets a diagnosis of dementia, the earlier they will be able to access help to put in place strategies and get professional services. There are also a range of illnesses that can present dementia-like symptoms, so it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis to ensure that you get the right treatment and support.
In recent years we have seen a large increase in the number of people diagnosed with dementia, and this is predicted to increase dramatically in the future as our population gets older. Currently there are more than 350,000 people in Australia living with dementia, and this is expected to rise to almost 900,000 by 2050.
While dementia is not a normal part of ageing it typically appears after 65 years of age. However, dementia can happen to anyone - it has been diagnosed in people in their 50s, 40s, and even as young as 30.
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