What is Dementia?
Dementia is Changes in Memory, Thinking, and Communication That Affect Daily Life
Dementia means severe changes in memory, thinking, and communication. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia. But there are other types, too. In the past, people used the word "senile" instead of dementia.
The risk of dementia goes up with age, but it is not part of normal aging. We all have a little trouble with memory and thinking when we get older. But when those changes are bad enough to affect daily activities, they are not normal. They mean someone may have dementia.
A person may have dementia if they show two or more of the warning signs listed here.
10 Warning Signs of Dementia
Being nervous and worried when there is no reason to be.
2. Behavior changes
Acting strangely. Doing things they normally wouldn't do.
Getting mixed up. Doing things in the wrong order.
Being confused about where they are, or getting lost.
5. Memory loss
Forgetting things. Asking the same question again and again.
6. Movement problems
Problems walking, picking things up, being uncoordinated.
Being afraid or suspicious when there is no reason to be.
8. Poor judgment
Deciding to do something that is risky or doesn't make sense.
9. Problems thinking
Forgetting how to count money.
10. Sexual actions
Doing or saying inappropriate things about sex.
Get A Check Up
See your doctor if you or someone you care about has two or more of the warning signs. The doctor can check to see what is the cause, because it's not always dementia. Sometimes those signs can be caused by a problem that can be treated.
If it is dementia, and not something that can be fixed, finding out early is important. That's because Alzheimer's disease and other dementias get worse over time. Finding out early gives time to plan for the future.
Why Do People Get Dementia?
Many things can lead to dementia. Some can't be changed, but others can. By changing the ones you can, the chance of dementia goes down.
Things You Can Change
Things You Cannot Change
Written By: Jane Mohler, NP-c, MPH, PhD, University of Arizona Center on Aging
Alzheimer's disease and Related Dementia ~ Care Partner Information
Edited by an inter-professional team from the University of Arizona Center on Aging, Alzheimer's Association - Desert Southwest Chapter and Community Caregivers
This project was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UB4HP19047, Arizona Geriatric Education Center. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.