What is dementia?

Dementia is a syndrome (a group of related symptoms) associated with an ongoing decline of brain functioning.

There are many different causes of dementia, and many different types.

Symptoms of dementia

Dementia symptoms may include problems with:

  • memory loss
  • thinking speed
  • mental sharpness and quickness
  • language, such as using words incorrectly, or trouble speaking
  • understanding
  • judgement
  • mood
  • movement
  • difficulties doing daily activities.

Alzheimer's disease

People often get confused about the difference between Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Alzheimer's disease is a type of dementia and, together with vascular dementia, makes up the majority of cases.

Living with dementia

A diagnosis of dementia can come as a shock, but there is support available.

Dementia patients show a decline in thinking skills or cognitive abilities. Sometimes these can be severe enough to affect daily life and independent living.

Having a care plan and getting a needs assessment are vital for supporting people with dementia.

The NHS has a Dementia Information Service website that can guide people with dementia following diagnosis.

Diagnostic Memory Clinic - older people

A multi-disciplinary team and joint clinic run by East London Foundation Trust provides initial assessment and diagnosis of dementia and cognitive impairment in people of all ages, although most service users are aged over 65.

The DMC is based at The Robinson Centre in Mile End Hospital, telephone: 020 8121 5650.