What is Dementia?

Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, communication skills, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that become severe enough to interfere with daily life. It describes a set of symptoms that can be caused by different illnesses, the most common being Alzheimer’s Disease but also includes a number of other diseases. 

Dementia affects everyone differently but there are changes that occur as it progresses including impacts on memory, a person’s ability to manage their day to day activities, their communication and their moods.  Dementia is progressive and currently there is no cure.

With that being said, it is important to know that each person who is living with dementia is unique. Their strengths and the impacts that dementia has on them are different for each person, and it is important to get to know them in your work.

While dementia can have a number of significant impacts on a person’s life and ability, there are also many strengths that remain throughout the course of their life.  Some forms of memory, particularly memories formed earlier in their life, creativity, an ability and desire to communicate are all present far into a person’s journey with dementia, and this is why this work is so important  – to provide opportunities for connection and to make the most of the abilities and interests of each participant.  (References here)

You will learn more about Dementia in Module 2.