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About Dementia

It is estimated that there are around 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia which can affect both men and women. Dementia is not a natural part of ageing and is not exclusively a condition that affects older people, although there is strong links between older age and a diagnosis of dementia. People over the age of 65 are most at risk of developing the disease; currently one in 14 people in this age range are living with dementia, however, there are over 40,000 people in the UK under 65 living with dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Society describes dementia as:

“A set of symptoms that may include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem solving or language. These changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia they have become severe enough to affect daily life. A person with dementia may also experience changes in their mood or behaviour.”                        

Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain and each person’s experience is unique, there are different types of dementia which will affect individuals differently. A person's surroundings and how others respond to them can greatly affect how well someone lives with dementia. 

Dementia is not just about loss of memory; other common symptoms could include:

  • Day-to-day memory – difficulty recalling events that happened recently
  • Concentrating, planning or organising – difficulties making decisions, solving problems or carrying out a sequence of tasks (eg cooking a meal)
  • Language – difficulties following a conversation or finding the right word for something
  • Visuospatial skills – problems judging distances (eg on stairs) and seeing objects in three dimensions
  • Orientation – losing track of the day or date, or becoming confused about where they are
  • Anxiety / repeating questions / pacing
  • Low mood and depression
  • Restlessness or being agitated  
  • Muscle weakness or weight loss
  • Changes to sleep pattern or appetite.

Positively, it is possible for a person with dementia to live an active and purposeful life where they can carry on doing the things that matter to them. An early diagnosis can help people with dementia get the right treatment and support. It can also help those close to them to prepare and plan for the future. With treatment and support, many people are able to lead active, fulfilled lives.

There is lots of information and support available to anyone who is affected by dementia

Cardiff and Vale UHB Dementia Toolkit resourses

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