Dementia 1: how dementia differs from normal ageing

Laura Ginesi, Catharine Jenkins, Bernie Keenan

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Abstract

The speed of information processing by the human brain changes with age but dementia is not part of the normal ageing process. Dementia is a progressive impairment of cognitive skills – remembering things, awareness of place and passage of time and ability to learn new things. Each person will experience dementia in his or her own way, and it is incurable and unrelenting.

In this series of articles, we explore some of the main forms of dementia, highlighting new understanding of the difference between normal ageing and dementia (article 1) before explaining some of the new findings related to pathophysiological processes that contribute to signs, symptoms and behaviour of those who are affected (article 2 of this series). Risk factors and risk reduction measures associated with the disorder are discussed and evaluated before we describe signs and symptoms and outline how dementia can be recognized, assessed and diagnosed (article 3 of the series). In the final article we consider the experience of the person with dementia and then focus on the nurse’s role in responding sensitively to complex needs while working in partnership with people living with dementia, their family carers and the multi-disciplinary team (article 4 of the series).
Original languageEnglish
JournalNursing Times
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2016

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