Demystifying dementia: 3 things you should know

by | Feb 18, 2024 | Health and Wellness, Home and Living

According to the latest national data from 2020-2021, almost 477,000 people aged 65 and older living in Canada have been diagnosed with dementia. The number is likely to be higher when accounting for people living with undiagnosed dementia. You have certainly heard the term dementia, but may have questions about what it means. Read on to learn more.

  1. Dementia symptoms differ from one person to the next
    Not everyone experiences the same dementia symptoms or behaviours. Memory challenges are not always a symptom, for example. Thinking abilities, such as attention, planning, memory or awareness of place and time, may be affected. It may be harder for people living with dementia to express thoughts or quickly understand what others are saying. In fact, symptoms can vary from person to person, day to day, across different settings and at different times of the day. It is important to avoid making assumptions about the abilities of people living with dementia.
  2. Dementia might look different than you expect
    People living with initial symptoms of dementia can often continue many of their previous activities, including going to work, attending social events and taking care of family members. As dementia progresses, individuals may need more assistance, but they can still be involved in their community and participate in activities they enjoy.
  3. There are ways to help
    Everyone should be treated with respect, including those living with dementia. Being intentional about your own behaviour around someone living with dementia can help put the person more at ease and reduce anxiety and related behaviours that may result when they feel confused or overwhelmed. Listening patiently, providing reassurance and using calm body language and tone of voice will help improve the chances of positive interactions.

Learn more about dementia at canada.ca/dementia

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