Dementia is a term used to describe a loss of memory, problem-solving, language, and other cognitive abilities that is severe enough to interfere with someone’s daily life. Dementia is not a single disease but instead a general term used to describe a range of medical conditions that damage brain cells and cause abnormal brain changes.
Different types of dementia include:
- Lewy body
- Mixed dementia
While these diseases damage brain cells in different ways, the damages they cause all interfere with the ability of brain cells to communicate with each other.
The signs and symptoms of dementia can vary significantly from person to person, but some examples include problems with:
- paying bills
- short-term memory
- keeping track of possessions (e.g., purse or wallet)
- traveling out of the neighborhood
- remembering appointments
- planning and preparing meals
Most causes of dementia are progressive, meaning the signs begin slowly and gradually worsen. Some dementia patients benefit from care in assisted living facilities.