Better Health Channel
  • Dementia describes a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. It is not one specific disease.
  • Dementia affects thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Brain function is affected enough to interfere with the person’s normal social or working life.
  • The most common dementias are Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies.
  • A diagnosis of dementia is profoundly life-changing and fear and anxiety can lead to people avoiding diagnosis. If you or someone you know is concerned about memory loss speak with your GP about getting an assessment and diagnosis.
  • Getting a diagnosis is very important to exclude other conditions with similar symptoms but also to access available treatments that are beneficial early in the disease and to ensure that a person can fully participate in healthcare decisions and future planning.
  • The Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service (CDAMS) is a publicly funded specialist multidisciplinary diagnostic, referral and education service that helps people with memory loss, or changes to their thinking, and those who support them. Private geriatrician and clinics also available.
  • The National Dementia Helpline is an Australia-wide, confidential telephone information and support service that helps people with dementia, and their partners, carers and friends.
  • Other services can support people with dementia to remain living at home, such as the Home and Community Care Program for Younger People (HACC PYP) or Commonwealth funded community aged care services.
  • If you are caring for someone with dementia, you can get free counselling, support and advice from Dementia Australia and Carers Victoria.
  • Caring for someone with dementia can be challenging. If you need or want to take a break from your care role, there are respite and support services and programs you can use.

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Reviewed on: 25-10-2022