Understanding Dementia

Understanding Dementia

What causes Dementia?

Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain. There are over one hundred different illnesses that can cause dementia. So when you notice your relative or friend’s increasing forgetfulness it is important to consult your doctor, or someone specially trained and experienced in diagnosing these diseases.

The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. A disease which is 14 times more common than multiple sclerosis. It accounts for approximately 50 percent of all cases.

What happens?

Usually, a person who is suffering with dementia will become gradually more forgetful, and their personality and ability to think or concentrate becomes affected. The progression of dementia varies depending on the cause and type of dementia and also on the individual person. In general there are three stages in the progress of dementia.

The first stage can often be unnoticed as the signs and symptoms can be ignored or explained. The person will become increasingly forgetful, and will find it difficult to take in new information. The person will start to lose their way, find that time passes by, and will become less spontaneous.

The second stage, the person will find that their memory and ability to take in new information continues to deteriorate. The person may need more supervision as they become more forgetful. The person may forget what they are trying to say mid sentence, forget the meanings of words.

The third stage the person will generally become apathetic, fail to recognise people and even their own reflection. They may lose control of bodily functions.

You are not alone

There are an estimated 500,000 people in Australia diagnosed with dementia. In Victoria there are approximately 50,000 people diagnosed with the disease. The task of caring for someone with dementia can be difficult. It is important to have a good understanding of the disease and what can be expected. It is also important to establish support networks, with family and friends and with agencies that can provide professional support.

Please contact the coordinator for more information on dementia and or support networks.