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Dementia

What symptoms are there?

Dementia is a group of symptoms, rather than a single disease. It refers to difficulties with thinking and memory. It is caused by damage to the brain and is typically regarded as long standing or progressive; disturbance of a number of brain functions, such as memory, thinking, language and calculation; and reduced ability to perform day-to-day activities. These changes are often small to start with, but can become severe enough to affect daily life.

The specific symptoms that someone with dementia experiences will depend on the parts of the brain that are damaged and the disease that is causing the dementia. A person with dementia will have cognitive symptoms (problems with thinking or memory) as well as often having changes in their mood. Dementia is progressive, which means the symptoms gradually get worse over time. How quickly dementia progresses varies greatly from person to person. As dementia progresses, the person may develop behaviours that seem unusual or out of character. The Alzheimer's Society has produced an informative factsheet that explains what dementia is and its causes and symptoms. It also looks at some of the different types of dementia. More information about the possible symptoms of each type of dementia can also be found on the NHS Choices website. On the Alzheimer's Research UK website you can also tour the brain and discover what different areas of the brain do and how they can be affected by dementia.

Worried about your memory?

If you are worried you may becoming increasingly forgetful, you should visit your GP to talk about your symptoms. Your forgetfulness could be caused by a number of factors, not necessarily dementia. If you are concerned someone you know may have dementia and are unsure how to help them, you can find useful information about this by visiting the NHS Choices website. The Alzheimer's Society's top tips can also provide help with starting the conversation about your concerns with the person.

Living well with dementia

Dementia affects everyday life of the person who has it, as well as their family. If you have been diagnosed with dementia, the following information pages will help you to live well with the condition.

Help and advice for people living with dementia

If you are working

Driving

Public transport

Planning for the future

Support services that are available


The following pages will provide information to help you understand what services are available to support you.

Diagnosis

Services and adaptations

Assistive technology 

Coming home from hospital

When you are no longer able to live at home

Advocacy

Help and advice for carers

Further Information

This might include any video clips, current campaigns, statistics, links to external sites or other relevant pages to link to on connect to support.

Watch a film about living well with dementia


This film introduces six people who are living well with dementia.

You can view a film about living at home with dementia here.

Dementia friends

Dementia-friendly communities

Useful guides

Ways you can help with dementia research

Publications and leaflets

Last reviewed: 10/04/2019

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