Describing Dementia

Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that is severe enough to interfere with daily life. Rather than a disease itself, dementia describes a set of symptoms that may be caused by different illnesses. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common and most familiar form of dementia. Other common types include vascular dementia, Lewy Body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and mixed dementia, which means more than one type of dementia simultaneously – there are over 100 other less common causes/types of dementia. 

Each type of dementia presents with different symptoms depending on the area of the brain that is affected. Dementia is a progressive condition, with the symptoms gradually getting worse as more of the brain becomes damaged. This is important to understand because your brain controls everything you do, from breathing to making art and everything in between.

Dementia is often referred to as an invisible disease because the physical changes occur inside the brain, while the person’s outer appearance remains unaffected. Not everyone will experience the same symptoms or progress at the same rate because the damage that has occurred in the person’s brain is individual to the person. A person’s symptoms may fluctuate within the day or over a period of time, resulting from many factors like changes in their medical condition, medications, amount of sleep or  disease progression. Other contributing factors like being hungry, thirsty, or a change in their living situation, can also impact the person. 

Currently, there is no cure for dementia, however the person’s quality of life can be enhanced by offering programs such as Artful Moments.