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About dementia

What is dementia?

Dementia is a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) associated with an ongoing decline of the brain and its abilities. This includes problems with:

  • memory loss
  • thinking speed
  • mental agility
  • language
  • understanding
  • judgment

People with dementia can become apathetic or uninterested in their usual activities, and have problems controlling their emotions. They may also find social situations challenging, lose interest in socialising and aspects of their personality may change.

A person with dementia may lose empathy (understanding and compassion), they may see or hear things that other people do not (hallucinations) or they may make false claims or statements.

As dementia affects a person's mental abilities, they may find planning and organising difficult. Maintaining their independence may also become a problem.

A person with dementia will therefore usually need help from friends or relatives, including help with their decision making.

Your GP will discuss the possible causes of memory loss with you, including dementia. Other symptoms can include:

  • increasing difficulties with tasks and activities that require concentration and planning
  • depression
  • changes in personality and mood
  • periods of mental confusion
  • difficulty saying the right words

Most types of dementia can't be cured, but if it's detected early enough there are ways you can slow it down and maintain mental function. An early diagnosis can help people with dementia get the right treatment and support, and help those close to them to prepare and plan for the future.

With treatment and support, many people are able to lead active fulfilled lives.

More information about Dementia Advisers and what is happening in your local area is available on the Alzheimer Scotland website. 

You can read Charter of Rights for People with Dementia and their Carers in Scotland, the Standards of Care for Dementia in Scotland or download a copy of the Dementia Strategy 2017-2020.

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