Dementia is not a specific disease. It's an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person's ability to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of all cases of dementia. Vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke, is the second most common dementia type. Dementia is often incorrectly referred to as "senility" or "senile dementia," which refers to the formerly widespread, but incorrect belief that serious mental decline is a normal part of aging.(1)
In the early stages it is important to understand what to expect and be aware of the symptoms and changes that might occur if and when the disease progresses. The goals of care are to help the individual maintain and maximize their abilities to care for themselves and keep them safe. Taking one day at a time and asking for help from family and through support groups will support the individual and the caregiver. Don’t carry the burden alone. There are organizations which can provide service(s) to make living with and coping with dementia, easier to manage and help people remain in the community as long as possible.