Dementia may seemingly be one of the most difficult diseases to live with and to experience. It not only affects the person who is diagnosed, but affects everyone else around. It burdens everyone, creates a long period of uncertainty and creates a multitude of issues. 

But what is Dementia?

It is generally understood to be a ‘neurodegenerative’ disorder, which affects the memory, personality, language abilities, and problem-solving abilities of the individual (Doung et al., 2017). It is a disorder which is progressive in nature, meaning that the condition starts out slowly and can only continue to worsen, with the person starting to slowly lose independence (Doung et al., 2017). Unfortunately, as of this day, there is still no identifiable cure for this disease, and so in essence, this is why many like me, identify it to be the most difficult disease to experience. Simply put, it affects a person’s everyday life, and it interferes with almost every activity of daily living. Since memory is affected, the person may start to be unable to learn new things, and thus cannot remember new information. Needless to say, these changes produced by Dementia affect the person’s behaviour and their feelings.

We often hear people confuse and overlap the terms ‘Dementia’ and ‘Alzheimer’s Disease’. Well, to put it simply, ‘Dementia’ is the umbrella term for various types of Dementia (Savica & Petersen, 2015). So, ‘Alzheimer’s Disease’ would be a type of ‘Dementia’. Other types include; Vascular, Lewy Body, and Frontotemporal Dementia Alzheimer’s Disease is the most often diagnosed type of Dementia, accounting for over 60% of all diagnoses. 

Age is the biggest risk factor for Dementia (Neergaard et al., 2016) , and is mainly diagnosed in persons aged 65 and over. This is why we often hear of the disease being diagnosed in older adults. However, this does not mean that the disease is only diagnosed after the age of 65. Early-Onset Dementia may also be diagnosed in individuals under the age of 65. 

Keep your eye out for these signs

Whilst it is progressive in nature, there are some simple signs one can look out for if they feel there is a possibility of a diagnosis. These signs are not limited to :

1) Issues with remembering recent information

2) Keeping focused in conversations (people may seem dazed or inattentive)

3) Remembering medications or appointments

4) Forgetting common routes

5) Difficulty with remembering names and numbers. 

In parts 2 and 3, we will be taking a look at the effects of Dementia on the caregiver, as well as the effects of the disease on the Persons with Dementia themselves. 

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Mr Teebi works as a Clinical Psychology Practitioner at Willingness, and works with clients with complex issues, including depression, anxiety, trauma, chronic pain, grief and cognitive impairment. Mr Teebi has graduated from the following degrees with Merit: Bachelor of Psychology (Hons), a Master of Gerontology and Geriatrics , and a Master of Psychology in Clinical Psychology, all at the University of Malta. He is currently reading for a PhD in Clinical Psychology and Geriatrics at the University of Birmingham.


Duong, S., Patel, T., & Chang, F. (2017). Dementia: What pharmacists need to know. Canadian pharmacists journal : CPJ = Revue des pharmaciens du Canada : RPC, 150(2), 118–129.

Neergaard, J. S., Dragsbæk, K., Hansen, H. B., Henriksen, K., Christiansen, C., & Karsdal, M. A. (2016). Late-Life Risk Factors for All-Cause Dementia and Differential Dementia Diagnoses in Women: A Prospective Cohort Study. Medicine, 95(11), e3112.

Savica, R., & Petersen, R. C. (2011). Prevention of dementia. The Psychiatric clinics of North America, 34(1), 127–145.