Dementia syndrome (dementia) consists of a set of symptoms that correspond to a continuous and usually progressive decline of higher nervous functions, which include among many others: memory loss, decreased mental agility, decreased executive functions, difficulties in expression , comprehension and judgment problems.42 The most common forms of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementias.
Memory loss is one of the most common symptoms. Individuals with dementia find it difficult to learn new things, often lose valuables such as wallets and keys, or leave food on the stove. In the most serious cases, people may also forget information they have already learned, such as the names of their loved ones. 43
People with dementia may become apathetic or uninterested in their usual activities, have problems controlling their emotions, lose empathy (the feelings of understanding and compassion), hallucinate, make false statements. It is common for people with dementia to lose their autonomy, as they may find it difficult to carry out simple tasks, such as eating, dressing or taking care of personal hygiene. 42
The treatment of dementia can vary depending on its cause and the state of the disease. Medications exist to specifically treat symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s dementia and other forms of progressive dementia. While medication will not stop the disease or reverse the brain damage it causes, it can improve quality of life and ease the burden on your caregivers. In cases of early-stage dementia, cognitive training and the practice of tasks aimed at improving performance in specific aspects of cognitive functioning are beneficial. For example, people can be taught to use memory aids such as mnemonics or notes. 44