Dementia is a term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a severe loss of thinking abilities which prevents a person from completing their daily activities (1). Contrary to common belief, serious mental decline is not a normal part of the aging process (1).
Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60% to 80% of all cases of dementia (2).In the advanced stages of Alzheimer's, individuals can no longer hold a conversation or respond to their environment (2). Vascular dementia, which can occur after a stroke, is the second most common type of dementia (3).
It is important to understand the symptoms and changes that might occur with the progression of the disease. For caregivers, the goal of care is to keep the individual safe and help them maintain their ability to care for themselves. Taking one day at a time and being supported by family members and social networks can also help both the older adult with dementia and their caregiver. Additionally, there are organizations that provide services to support older adults living with dementia and ensure they are able to remain in the community as long as possible. Check with your regional Alzheimer Society or family physician for more information.