Dementia is a decline in memory, thinking, and communication skills that gets worse over time. Some memory changes can occur as we age. However, memory loss that starts to affect daily life may be a sign of dementia.
Mental functions affected by dementia can include memory, language, problem solving, personal care, and the ability to focus. Some people with dementia experience emotional and personality changes. Dementia ranges in severity from a mild stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic self-care.
The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Other types of dementia include Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and Parkinson’s related dementia. It is common for people with dementia to have a combination of two or more types, which is called mixed dementia. While dementia is more common as people grow older, it is not a normal part of aging. Treatment is available for dementia and an early diagnosis can be very beneficial. Visit a doctor if you suspect any symptoms.