WHAT IS DEMENTIA?
Dementia is a general term that is used to describe a group or range of symptoms that are a result of loss of brain function. Some common signs of dementia include’s
- Memory and thinking difficulties
- Difficulty coping with daily tasks and functioning independently
- Language & communication difficulties
- Changes in mood, judgment or personality
Dementia usually occurs among the elderly population (aged 65 and above). If an individual younger than 65 is diagnosed with dementia, it is called ‘early-onset’ dementia and is quite rare.
Though memory loss generally occurs in dementia, memory loss alone doesn’t mean you have dementia. For a diagnosis of dementia, at least one more of the following core mental functions must also be significantly impaired to be considered dementia:
- Communication and language
- Ability to focus and pay attention
- Reasoning and judgment
- Visual perception
Each person is unique and experiences dementia in their own way. The way people experience dementia depends on many factors, including physical make-up, emotional resilience and the support available to them. On a general note, people with dementia may have problems with short-term memory (or remembering things that have happened in the recent past), keeping track of personal items and belongings, paying bills, preparing meals or carrying out other household activities, planning & remembering appointments, and in extreme cases, self-care and recognizing family and friends.
The illness affects each person differently. It is important to remember what is true of one Person with Dementia (PwD) may not necessarily be true of another PwD.
HOW COMMON IS DEMENTIA?
In India it was shown that in 2010 there were 37,00,000 people with dementia and this number will grow to almost 80,00,000 in 2030. The prevalence of dementia among those aged 65 and above is approximately 5%