Three surprising things you should know about dementia

(NC) While many of us may know a friend or family member with dementia, there are many aspects of this condition that are often easily misunderstood. To better understand dementia, here are three important things to know:

1. It’s not an inevitable part of aging

Some might mistakenly believe dementia is an inevitable part of aging. While some risk factors linked to developing dementia cannot be modified, like genetics, what you may not know is that you can work on others such as mid-life obesity, smoking and high cholesterol.

Several studies suggest that preventing or delaying the onset of symptoms is possible by adopting healthy lifestyle behaviours such as being physically active, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, reducing stress, and staying connected to others.

Staying healthy is good for your mind and body now, and it can make a difference for your brain health in the long term.

2. There are many types of dementia

Most people have heard of Alzheimer’s disease, but they may not realize there are several other types of dementia such as dementia with Lewy bodies, frontotemporal dementia and vascular dementia (often linked with stroke). Dementia is also linked to traumatic brain injuries like concussions. Dementia is most commonly diagnosed among those aged 65 years or older. However, individuals can also be diagnosed before the age of 65 with young-onset dementia, which presents unique challenges, such as finding supports adapted for younger people living with dementia.

3. Not everyone’s experience of living with dementia is the same

Two people with the same type of dementia may experience different symptoms in various degrees. For example, one person may have challenges with daily tasks while others might lose a second language or experience a personality change.

Most importantly, remember that many people living with dementia, can still function and take care of themselves. While some may need more assistance at later stages, they still feel emotions and respond to them.

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