Dementia (taken from Latin, originally meaning "madness", from de- "without" + ment, the root of mens "mind") is a serious loss of cognitive ability in a previously unimpaired person, beyond what might be expected from normal aging.
Dementia is a declineis a decline ofreasoning,memory, and other mental abilities (the cognitive functions).
This decline eventually impairs the ability to carry out everyday activitiessuch asdriving; household chores; and even personal caresuch asbathing, dressing, and feeding (often called activities of daily living, or ADLs).
It may be static, the result of a unique global brain injury, or progressive, resulting in long-term decline due to damage or disease in the body.
Although dementia is far more common in the geriatric population, it may occur in any stage of adulthood.
Dementia, unlike Alzheimer's, is not a disease in itself. When dementia appears the higher mental functions of the patient are involved initially.
Eventually, in the later stages, the person may not know what day of the week, month or year it is, he may not know where he is, and might not be able to identify the people around him.
- Memory loss - the patient may forget his way back home from the shops. He may forget names and places. He may find it hard to remember what happened earlier on during the day.
- Moodiness - the patient may become more and more moody as parts of the brain that control emotion become damaged. Moods may also be affected by fear and anxiety - the patient is frightened about what is happening to him.
- Communicative difficulties
- The affected person finds it harder to talk read and/or write.