Dementia occurs as a result of physical changes in the structure of the brain. These changes can affect memory, thinking, behaviour, personality and emotion. Because dementia is a progressive syndrome, symptoms will gradually worsen. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, although there are several other forms. No single factor has been identified as a cause for dementia or Alzheimer's disease. It is likely that a combination of factors, including age, genetic inheritance and environment are responsible.
There are around 50,000 people with dementia in New Zealand and for each of these people, there is a whole network of others around them that are affected too. Alzheimers New Zealand works with people with dementia, their family/whanau, friends and community. People of all ages, ethnicities and intellectual ability can get dementia. While it is more common in people over the age of 65, it can also affect younger people.
It is common for people of all ages to experience forgetfulness and memory loss. Forgetfulness is not being able to remember something at a specific time, but probably being able to recall it later. This kind of forgetfulness is not cause for alarm.
Examples for normal forgetfulness include:
- walking into the kitchen and forgetting what you went in for
- misplacing your keys
- forgetting the names of people
- not remembering a specific place or brand name (the "tip of the tongue" experience)
However, there is a cause for concern when memory loss starts to affect the daily life of a person.
Ageing well - living healthier
Posted 06 December 2013
Musician donates portion of proceeds to Alzheimers NZ
Posted 05 December 2013
A holiday gift guide for people living with dementia
Posted 05 December 2013
Alzheimers NZ appoints Clinical Advisor
Posted 03 December 2013
Funding for public awareness of dementia to encourage early diagnosis
Posted 25 November 2013
Colin Mathura-Jeffree visits Porirua Support Group
Posted 19 November 2013
Glittering event raises funds to boost quality care
Posted 11 November 2013
Board Member Dr Chris Perkins' on Nine to Noon
Posted 03 October 2013
Alzheimers NZ and Bupa reaffirm commitment to lifting quality of care for people with dementia
Posted 26 September 2013
World Alzheimer Report 2013 calls for increase in quality of services for people with dementia
Posted 19 September 2013