There are a number of recognized signs of dementia the most common of which I list below:
• memory loss – especially forgetting recently learned information
• planning and problem solving – difficulty in following recipes, understanding bills
• difficulty completing familiar daily tasks – driving to destinations, rules of games, working gadgets
• confusion over times and dates – forgetting where they are or why
• trouble understanding visual images – reading, judging distances
• problems with spoken or written words – stopping mid conversation, struggling to find right words or using incorrect words
• losing things – putting them down in unusual places and unable to track back to find them
• poor judgement – paying more for things or for silly things; becoming careless of their appearance
• social withdrawal – giving up hobbies, sports and social activities
• mood swings - confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. Upset over trivial problems
Dementia is not a specific disease but is used to describe a range of symptoms concerning one’s mental faculties.
Alzheimer however is a disease which results in mental decline and is
the most common form of dementia accounting for between 60% - 80% of
The next most common form is Vascular dementia which is caused by having a stroke. This was the cause of my father’s dementia which was not too severe and allowed him to enjoy a reasonable quality of life.
Other diseases such as syphilis and thyroid malfunction can also cause dementia.
Senile dementia is indicative of a general decline in mental faculties associated with old age. I remember my grandmother suffered from this when she was very old although members of her generation tended to live less active lives with fewer mental and physical activities to keep them healthy.
To be considered suffering from dementia at least two of these mental attributes need to be significantly impaired.
• Ability to communicate through speech and writing
• Ability to concentrate on specific tasks
• Able to rationalise and make judgements
• Ability to correctly interpret visual information