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Mosaic Stones

Understanding Dementia

Dementia is a term used to describe a group of symptoms affecting memory, think, social interactions, and ability to care for oneself. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia in older adults. Knowing about dementia is really important for caregivers because it helps them understand what's happening in each stage of the disease, why certain behaviors occur, and how to take care of their loved ones better.

Symptoms Dementia symptoms vary depending on the cause. Common symptoms include: Cognitive changes Memory loss, which is usually noticed by someone else. Problems communicating or finding words. Trouble with visual and spatial abilities, such as getting lost while driving. Problems with reasoning or problem-solving. Trouble performing complex tasks. Trouble with planning and organizing. Poor coordination and control of movements. Confusion and disorientation. Psychological changes Personality changes. Depression. Anxiety. Agitation. Inappropriate behavior. Being suspicious, known as paranoia. Seeing things that aren't there, known as hallucinations.

When to see a doctor. See a health care professional if you or a loved one has memory problems or other dementia symptoms. It's important to determine the cause. Some medical conditions that cause dementia symptoms can be treated.

The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease worsen over time, although the rate at which the disease progresses varies. On average, a person with Alzheimer's lives four to eight years after diagnosis, but can live as long as 20 years, depending on other factors. Changes in the brain related to Alzheimer's begin years before any signs of the disease. This time period, which can last for years, is referred to as preclinical Alzheimer's disease.

Watch the video for an overview of dementia and a description of the stages of the disease.

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