Dementia is caused by diseases that damage the brain and affect a person’s ability to think, remember and go about their day-to-day life.
While everyone with dementia is different, common challenges include everyday activities like getting dressed, eating and bathing. Over time, a person with dementia will need more support to carry out these daily tasks.
Not everyone will experience all of these changes, and symptoms may progress at different rates and in different ways for each person.
This tool will help you understand some of the challenges people with dementia may face in their day-to-day life. It will also let you explore how we’re working to make life easier for people with dementia by developing pioneering new treatments.
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Find out how new dementia treatments could impact day-to-day tasks.
Current dementia treatments can temporarily stabilise or improve a person’s symptoms, helping them to maintain their ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. This can make a big difference to someone’s quality of life but, unfortunately, current treatments don’t work for everybody. As these treatments can’t slow or stop the underlying damage getting worse in the brain, their benefits usually only last for around a year. Research is underway to develop more effective medicines to help with day-to-day symptoms. Follow this link for more information on dementia treatments currently available.
These treatments would slow or stop the progression of a disease like Alzheimer’s and protect the brain from damage. For any disease-modifying treatment to be approved for use in people, it would have to benefit a person’s ability to carry out daily tasks. The immediate effect of a disease-modifying treatment may not be greater than that of existing symptomatic treatments, but they are likely to have longer-lasting benefits on a person’s ability to function independently.
Mild cognitive impairment
Mild memory and thinking problems that are greater than expected for a person’s age, but not severe enough to be classified as dementia. This is known as mild cognitive impairment or MCI. Symptoms of MCI may not have very much impact on a person’s day-to-day life. Someone living with MCI may not notice the signs at first as they do not normally affect daily life very much. Although some tasks may require someone with MCI to take extra care, symptoms don’t necessarily get worse and not everyone with MCI will develop dementia.
Many people enjoy life as they always have and can get on with day-to-day life with a little help here and there. Family and friends may need to remind people about some everyday tasks, and certain activities may take longer than they used to.
It’s important for people with dementia to try to maintain normal aspects of life for as long as possible and a person’s ability might vary from one task to the next. People will likely need more support, including physical help, to get on with daily life. They may become confused or frustrated at times or lose the confidence and ability to do things they used to enjoy.
In the later stages of dementia, people will require extensive help with everyday activities and will need the help of others in almost all day-to-day tasks.