What is dementia?

Dementia is a condition that involves a decline in cognitive function. Cognitive function is the term for the many different processes by which we understand and make sense of the world. It is what allows you to function day to day in terms of getting up in the morning, getting ready to leave the house, planning your day, arriving at your place of work on time, performing your job, getting home etc. We do all this without thinking about what is involved but it does require you to have adequate perception, attention, memory and planning skills. These are examples of the skills that are lost in people who have dementia.

There are many different forms of dementia but the one that people are most familiar with is Alzheimers dementia. The other forms are called frontotemporal dementia (mainly because the front and side areas of the brain are the most affected), vascular dementia (which is a type of dementia caused by having multiple strokes over time), dementia with Lewy bodies (these are abnormal protein deposits in the brain) and mixed dementia (which is a combination of these and often this is what is diagnosed).