As of 2020, there are over 55 million people worldwide living with dementia, and this number is expected to nearly double every 20 years – affecting 78 million people in 2030 and 139 million people in 2050. Dementia is the general term for a group of brain disorders that cause memory problems and make it hard to think clearly. There are different types of dementia including vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and Alzheimer’s Disease – which represents between 60% and 80% of dementia-related diagnoses.
Aging populations should be aware of the early signs of dementia and memory loss, as early detection has proven beneficial for both patients and their loved ones. However, it can be challenging to distinguish between normal memory loss associated with aging, and memory loss caused by dementia.
The symptoms of dementia often start off very mild and get worse slowly. Symptoms can include:
As dementia gets worse, people might:
Research shows that most people currently living with dementia have not received a formal diagnosis, and suggests that three quarters of people with dementia worldwide remain undiagnosed. Many people choose to age at home or caregivers choose, key help is education, support, and treatment options are important to caregivers and loved ones so they can be successfully and safely cared for at home.
A previous World Alzheimer Report focused on the critical importance of earlier diagnosis and early intervention in closing the dementia treatment gap. The report found:
Early identification of dementia may also offer patients the opportunity to participate in clinical drug trials, which could potentially be life changing.
You should see a doctor or nurse if you think you or someone close to you is showing signs of dementia. Sometimes memory loss and confusion are caused by medical problems other than dementia that can be treated. For example, people with diabetes sometimes show signs of confusion when their blood sugar is not well controlled. If you’re looking for additional information to help distinguish between dementia and normal memory decline associated with aging, there are several resources – such as this chart from the UK’s Alzheimer’s Society.
There are no proven ways to prevent dementia. But here are some things that seem to help keep the brain healthy:
MediTelecare’s™ direct-to-consumer offering, MediTely™, offers world-class mobile telehealth technology for the aging population – including both patients and caregivers – living independently. MediTely’s™ comprehensive services include assessments, memory screening, individual therapy, family counseling, caregiver support via therapy and support groups, and medication management. MediTely™ provides access to a team of renowned healthcare professionals skilled in improving older adults’ health and emotional wellness.
MediTely’s™ Brief Memory Check-Ups are annual assessments of a patient or caregiver’s memory to proactively detect risk of dementia and memory loss. As part of MediTely’s™ Brief Memory Check-Ups, an assigned clinician will administer a brief assessment to evaluate you or your loved one’s memory and identify any potential challenges associated with memory loss. Following the check-up, the patient or caregiver, a designated family member, and a primary care physician will receive results, as well as relevant, personalized recommendations to maintain brain health and treat potential underlying conditions.