Understanding Dementia


Dementia is not a disease itself but a term used to describe the types of symptoms of other diseases affecting the brain.

Two types of dementia are: 

Alzheimer’s – affects memory and thought.

Vascular – damage caused by lack of blood supply (after stroke).

There are many other types of dementia that can develop from other illnesses.

Being forgetful doesn’t mean you have a form of dementia, although memory loss can be a symptom. 

Age UK lists the main symptoms of early onset-dementia as follows but advises that these can also be caused by depression and other health deficiencies, so it is wise to get the doctor to check for any vitamin or thyroid problems as well.

Memory loss:

Forgetting what day it is or the names of people or things around you, difficulty with your short-term memory but being able to recall long-term memories, forgetting where you put something or where you keep things.

Thought process disorientation:

Thoughts can become confused and memories mixed up. It may take longer to process information and to mentally order things. Making decisions can become harder and it might be difficult to judge things that were usually easy or automatic, for example which is the front door key / how you take your coffee. It is possible you might feel lost in a familiar place or you suddenly don’t know how you got where you are. You might be confused between night and day. 

Lack of concentration and irritability:

Struggling to hold or follow conversations or concentrate on television programmes or reading. You might notice you repeat things or forget what you were talking about mid-sentence. You might experience mood swings and be short-tempered, or lose interest in your usual hobbies or interests. 

Age UK advises that if you experience any of the above symptoms then it is advisable to make an appointment with your GP.

You can also call Age UK Advice Line on 0800 055 6112.


If you would like to talk to our recruitment team about a carer-companion for yourself or a relative please call us on 020 3 857 9945.