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Dementia is a collective name for progressive brain syndromes which affect memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion. Dementia is the leading cause of disability and dependency among the elderly. Although each person will experience dementia in their own way, eventually those affected are unable to care for themselves and need help with all aspects of daily life.
There are over 100 forms of dementia. The most well-known form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which accounts for 50-60% of all cases. Other forms of dementia include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies and fronto-temporal dementia. Symptoms may include:
- loss of memory
- difficulty in finding the right words or understanding what people are saying
- difficulty in performing previously routine tasks
- personality and mood changes
Dementia affects almost 50 million people worldwide, with a new case of dementia occurring somewhere in the world every 3 seconds. Dementia can also affect individuals under the age of 65 (young onset dementia). Greater awareness and understanding of dementia is important to challenge the myths and misconceptions that surround the condition.
There is currently no cure for most types of dementia, but treatment and support are available.