Dementia/Alzheimer's diseaseThe increasing aging of society is accompanied by an increasing number of age-related diseases such as dementia or Alzheimer's disease. We provide answers to frequently asked questions.
– Dementia causes a change in a person's mental abilities and behavior. – Alzheimer's disease is the most common, but only one of many forms of dementia. – People with dementia and their loved ones should take advantage of support services early on.
What is dementia?
Dementia is a disease that affects the brain. There are many different forms of dementia. Either the brain itself is diseased due to a chronic disease, or the vessels of the brain are affected. Dementia can also be the result of another disease. Dementia affects the cognitive abilities of the brain, z.B. memory, orientation, perception, thinking, arithmetic, learning ability, language and judgment. The incidence of dementia increases with age.
Is dementia the same as Alzheimer's disease?
No, Alzheimer's disease is the best known and most common disease that leads to degradation processes in the brain. In the meantime, other acute and chronic diseases are known that can result in dementia, for example, circulatory disorders, brain tumors, depression or infections. Only in very few cases the cause can be eliminated. The brain performance returns.
What to do at the first signs?
If you suspect dementia, first consult your primary care physician. However, for further and comprehensive diagnosis, you should consult a specialist (z.B. neurologist, psychiatrist) or the memory consultation hours of a specialist clinic/memory clinic. There are some causes of dementia that are treatable. In addition, a diagnosis not only provides certainty, but explains decreased performance and/or behavioral changes, and forms the basis for a treatment plan. Causes that can be remedied can be treated with medication or surgery. In addition, medication and non-drug therapies (milieu therapy, music therapy, memory therapy, u.v.a.m.) used to preserve cognitive abilities or mitigate behavioral changes.
Is forgetfulness already dementia?
Who does not know that, the name of the acquaintance from yesterday's party is forgotten, one can not remember where the glasses were last or a certain term does not come to mind. All this is quite normal and can be a sign of stress or simply a bad memory. Dementia goes far beyond such weaknesses. The disease causes those affected to no longer be able to coordinate everyday processes and recognize logical relationships.
Examples of everyday processes are making coffee (putting the right amount of water in the right container, putting coffee powder or capsule in the right place, and turning on the machine) or the correct order of clothing when getting dressed (z.B. petticoat, undershirt and bra under the dress). Orientation problems also frequently occur, which is especially noticeable in a new environment, such as on vacation. Where to find information. Support? Information can be found on the pages of the German Alzheimer Society. At your local care support point or care advice center.
In addition to the declining cognitive abilities, many forms of dementia also lead to a change in personality. This is precisely what makes the disease so difficult for those affected. your relatives so difficult. The care and nursing of people with dementia can take many years and is accompanied by great mental and physical stress for the relatives. Therefore, it is important to take advantage of support services at an early stage.