Dementia is a decline in mental ability which affects memory, thinking, problem-solving,
concentration and perception. Some forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease,
are degenerative i.e. they get worse over time. Other forms of dementia, such as
vascular dementia, may be non-degenerative i.e. they may not get worse over time.
People with dementia can become confused, leading to restless or repetitive behaviour,
which can be very distressing for everyone concerned. They may also seem irritable,
tearful or agitated. They may also develop other problems such as depression, disturbed
sleep, aggression, inappropriate sexual behaviour and incontinence.
Dementia is almost invariably a disease of ageing. About 1 in 20 people over the
age of 65 are affected, and 1 in 5 people over the age of 80. Dementia in people
under 65 is known as early onset or pre-senile dementia and is rare, affecting under
1 in 1000.
Dementia suffers can be accommodated in residential or nursing homes depending on
the level of the condition. Talk to your local care home and discuss your needs.