Dementia is a chronic and progressive illness that affects the brain. It is a general term for symptoms like a decline in memory, reasoning and other cognitive skills. Sometimes, it can even lead to decline in intellectual function, personality changes, or it may be severe enough to prevent a person from functioning as well as they used to. Dementia is caused by damage to the brain and its cells. This disease can happen to anyone but is mostly known to affect the elderly aged 60 and above.
There are various causes of dementia, but two of the most common causes are Alzheimer’s Disease and vascular dementia.
Alzheimer’s Disease is a specific brain disease that accounts for 60 – 80% of dementia cases. Alzheimer’s Disease is associated with the accumulation of brain deposits, destroyed nerve cells and shrinkage of the brain.
Another cause of dementia is vascular dementia. When blood flow to the brain is reduced or blocked, brain cells are deprived of oxygen and nutrients. This may occur after a major stroke, depending on how the blood vessels around the brain are affected. Other health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart problems are also contributing factors.
There is no cure for dementia. However, there are current treatments to manage behavioural symptoms and delay the progression of the disease.
High quality interaction with seniors is one way to slow the progression of dementia.