September is Dementia Awareness Month
Dementia. Australia’s ageing population is growing and so to are the people that are experiencing symptoms of dementia or being diagnosed with Dementia. What is it? It is usually defined as various symptoms that begin as disorders affecting the brain.
The affects of dementia can be seen in changes in behaviour, the ability to think and the challenges in performing everyday tasks. It can also take a toll on everyday life, interfering with the persons capacity to interact socially or work.
Dementia mainly affects older people and is not considered a normal part of ageing. Many older people have no symptoms of dementia at all. Generally those over the age of 65 may experience symptoms of dementia.
In Australia, Dementia is the second leading cause of death. In 2019, 447,115 are estimated to have dementia. 250 people are diagnosed with dementia on a daily basis.
Commonly many people associate dementia with Alzheimer’s disease. Some other forms of dementia include Vascular dementia, Alcohol related dementia, Huntington’s disease.
It is very important to be sure symptoms of dementia are in fact dementia and not other health conditions such as infections, brain tumours, hormone and vitamin deficiencies. Medication needs to be monitored, in case problems begin with clashes or overmedication.
If symptoms are noticed, an early medical check and diagnosis will lead to being able to determine whether the person has another medical condition or the early stages of dementia.
The early signs and what to look for?
Dementia symptoms can be very subtle and not easily noticed. These symptoms may include:
- Withdrawal and apathy
- Inability to carry out day to day tasks
- Change in personality
- Progressive and more frequent memory loss
Although, no current cure exists, some medications can reduce symptoms. For assistance, resources for families and carers and support you can call 1800 100 500 National Dementia Helpline to speak to someone confidentially at Dementia Australia.