Dealing with dementia
While dementia is more common in older people, it's not a normal part of ageing. Information on the signs of dementia, how to reduce the risk and support options.
Signs of dementia
Dementia is the general term used for the symptoms of an illness that affects the brain. There are many diseases that can cause dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia affects a person’s thinking and behaviour. Common signs can include:
- memory loss
- trouble with speech
- changes in personality
- difficulty completing daily tasks.
There are other, treatable conditions that can cause similar symptoms.
While there is currently no cure for dementia, it’s possible to slow the progression. It’s important to see a doctor when symptoms first appear, so you can get a diagnosis and the appropriate treatment.
Learn more about dementia at healthdirect.
Reducing your risk of dementia
Dementia cannot be prevented, but you can reduce your risk of getting it.
Risk factors that can be affected by lifestyle include your:
- heart health - eating a healthy diet, limiting alcohol and not smoking can help to keep the heart healthy and promote brain health
- body health - an active lifestyle and regular physical activity increases blood flow to the brain and can improve brain function
- mind health - mental activity that challenges the brain helps build brain cells and strengthens their connections. Staying social, learning a language or new hobby, as well as word games like crosswords and puzzles can all help memory and thinking skills.
Learn more about reducing the risk factors at Dementia Australia.
If you have dementia, or are caring for someone who does, you can find information and support at:
- National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500 for a free counselling support service or to find a carer support group
- Dementia Australia for information on dementia in other languages.
- Dementia Support Australia on 1800 699 799 for 24-hour support for people caring for someone with dementia
- Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737 for information, support and respite for carers
- My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 for services and support at home or in aged care, including respite care
- My Dementia Companion online tool for personalised and practical information and support for family and carers of someone with dementia