A diagnosis of dementia is not a normal part of aging, but changes in thinking and memory are common and affect many people. In fact, in Australia nearly half a million people live with some form of dementia, and many live with some cognitive impairment.
Dementia is a broad concept, not one specific disease. This refers to a set of symptoms that usually affect thinking, behavior and the ability to perform daily tasks.
Common symptoms include:
- problems remembering recent events
- problems in planning or solving problems
- struggle to find the right words or follow the conversations
- problems remembering days and dates
- increased forgetfulness where things are usually stored
- difficulty with daily tasks
- difficulties with financial processing have intensified
- lost interest in activities or social catching up.
Changes in memory and thinking cannot be caused by dementia. They may be related to health and lifestyle factors including stress, pain, chronic illness, certain medications, alcohol and fatigue.
It is important to talk to your doctor about any changes that you recognize in yourself or a loved one as soon as possible.
Since being diagnosed with dementia and accessing support services, dementia lawyer Jenny Lawson says she feels “much more empowered and able to live her life every day, really, in such a good way”.
If the symptoms are caused by dementia, timely diagnosis means early access to information, advice and support to help you make lifestyle adjustments to suit your capabilities and live well. If the symptoms are not caused by dementia, early diagnosis will be helpful in treating other diseases.
It is important to learn about changes in thinking and memory with age. While we can’t change aging, you can make changes to some health and lifestyle habits to reduce or delay the risk of dementia.
Why it’s important to stay social and talk about change:
Maintaining social ties with age is very important for maintaining our overall well-being and brain health. It helps to create a core group of people with whom you can talk openly about aging.
Sociality plays an important role for:
- watch your body, heart and mind
- improve well-being and reduce feelings of loneliness and depression
- reduce the risk of cognitive (thinking) decline
- preserve your identity.
Friends and family can be a great support to talk about overall health and well-being – it’s important for everyone. You may notice a change in a friend, or they may notice a change in you. And the sooner you start noticing and discussing change, the better.
If you want to talk about changes in thinking and memory, it’s best to start with the National Dementia Helpline.
“Every person who calls will have a different question. There is no specific topic because dementia is so unique, and that’s why people contact us will also be unique, ”says Peter, who talks to people who care about their memory as part of his work as a consultant and specialist. to support people living with dementia.
Dementia Australia is a source of trusted information, education and support services. We advocate for positive change for people living with dementia, their families and carers, and support vital research.
Dementia Australia provides support at every stage, starting with a preliminary diagnosis. This includes people who are concerned about changes in memory and thinking.
Dementia Australia’s highly qualified dementia professionals can support you and connect you with the services and information you need by phone, email or online chat. Family, caregivers and friends play an important supporting role in caring for someone living with dementia. If you know someone who cares about their memory, there is also someone who is willing to listen and support you. It’s never too early to ask questions about the memory and thinking of your or a loved one.
Call the National Dementia Helpline at 1800 100 500
Send us an email at Help@dementia.org.au
Chat online now on dementia.org.au/helpline/webchat
Visit our website at dementia.org.au