DementiaRoadmap

Helping primary care to support people with dementia

What is Dementia?

April 20 2020

What is Dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term for a range of progressive conditions that affect the brain. There are over 200 sub-types of dementia, but the five most common are: Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies, frontotemporal dementia and mixed dementia.

The brain is made up of nerve cells (neurones) that communicate with each other by sending messages. Dementia damages the nerve cells in the brain so messages can’t be sent from and to the brain effectively, which prevents the body from functioning normally.

Dementia in Sandwell

The number of people living with dementia in the UK reached 850,000 in 2015 and is expected to reach one million by 2025. In Sandwell (according to the latest Local Authority estimates) there are around 3,900 people who are living with dementia.

Symptoms of Dementia

Regardless of which type of dementia is diagnosed and what part of the brain is affected, each person will experience dementia in their own unique way. Although the symptoms may vary person to person, the common symptoms of dementia include:

  • increasing confusion
  • reduced concentration
  • personality or behaviour changes
  • apathy and withdrawal or depression
  • loss of ability to do everyday tasks
  • feeling confused, even when in a familiar environment
  • finding it hard to carry out familiar daily tasks

Further information

The Many Faces of Dementia
This online course enables you to gain a unique insight into dementia through the stories, symptoms and science behind four less common diagnoses of dementia, the people involved and the implications of these for our wider understanding.

Delirium awareness video
Delirium in older adults often goes unrecognised by health care professionals and can be poorly managed. This video was produced with the aim of improving recognition and management of delirium in any healthcare setting.

Dementia Diaries
Dementia Diaries is a national project that brings together people’s diverse experiences of living with dementia as a series of audio diaries.

Women’s experiences of dementia
The ‘Women’s experiences of dementia’ website contains a wealth of stories which highlight the experiences of women affected by dementia.

Younger people with dementia
This factsheet published by the Alzheimer’s Society explores at the types of dementia that younger people under 65 years of age may have, some of the difficulties that they might experience and where support can be found.

Information about Lewy Body Dementia
This handbook published by the Lewy Body Society aims to help people with Lewy body dementia (LBD), their families and health care professionals learn more about the disease and find ways and resources to help them cope with it.

The Sound Doctor: Getting the best out of life with dementia
A series of films providing information to families living with dementia through the entertaining medium of TV/Film.

Listen, talk, connect: Communicating with people living with dementia
This handbook published by Care UK is a guide to support carers relatives and friends who want to communicate effectively with someone living with dementia.

Are you worried about Dementia?
This leaflet produced by the Lewy Body Society explains the main symptoms and causes of dementia. It also outlines the distinct symptoms associated with Lewy body dementia.

What causes dementia?
Dementia is the result of brain cells being damaged in an ongoing way. This happens as a result of a number of different diseases (sometimes referred to as ‘types’ of dementia). It is not an inevitable part of ageing.

How common is dementia?
According to the Alzheimer’s Society there are around 800,000 people in the UK with dementia. One in three people over 65 will develop dementia, and two-thirds of people with dementia are women.

What is dementia?
This resource will help practitioners to understand that dementia is more than just difficulties with memory. Dementia is not a single disease but a term used to describe a group of symptoms.

Improving Dementia Education and Awareness (IDEA)October 13, 2013
This online resource managed by the University of Nottingham is aimed at improving the care and quality of life for people with dementia.

Dementia e-learning sessionsAugust 26, 2013
An interactive e-learning resource to support the training of all health and social care staff in recognising, assessing, and managing dementia, and providing high quality dementia care.

Frontotemporal dementia
This article published in the British Medical Journal highlights some of the issues pertinent to Frontotemporal dementia, a clinically and pathologically heterogeneous group of non-Alzheimer dementias characterised collectively by relatively selective, progressive atrophy involving the frontal or temporal lobes, or both.

What is dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)?
This Alzheimer’s Society factsheet outlines the causes, symptoms and treatments available for Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).

Dementia and aggressive behaviour

This factsheet produced by the Alzheimer’s Society aims to aid understanding about what may cause this type of behaviour and offers some ways to deal with it.

Sight, perception and hallucinations in dementia
This Alzheimer’s Society factsheet considers some specific difficulties that people with dementia can have with sight, perception and hallucinations, and suggests ways to support them.

Ten tips for communicating with a person with dementia
These top tips produced by the Family Caregiver Alliance will help practitioners and those caring for a person with dementia to improve communication skills and ability to handle the difficult behaviour.

Moving and walking about
This Alzheimer’s Society factsheet explains some of the reasons why a person with dementia may walk about and looks at what you can do to help.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, affecting around 496,000 people in the UK. This Alzheimer’s Society factsheet outlines the symptoms and risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, and describes what treatments are currently available.

The later stages of dementia
During the later stages of dementia most people will become increasingly frail due to the progression of the illness. They will also gradually become dependent on others for all of their care.

Drugs used to relieve behavioural and psychological symptoms in dementia
This factsheet produced by the Alzheimer’s Society explores the different types of drugs that can be used to treat these symptoms if non-pharmalogical treatments have not worked.

What is vascular dementia?
Vascular dementia is the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. This Alzheimer’s Society factsheet outlines the causes, symptoms and treatments available for vascular dementia.

Understanding and respecting the person with dementia
This factsheet produced by the Alzheimer’s Society explores ways that carers can help people living with dementia to feel valued and good about themselves.

Unusual behaviour
This factsheet produced by the Alzheimer’s Society outlines some typical sorts of unusual behaviour in people with dementia and explains some common causes.

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