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Dementia is a progressive disorder that affects how your brain works and in particular the ability to remember, think and reason. It is not a disease in itself – but a group of symptoms that may accompany a number of diseases that can affect the brain.

Dementia is not a consequence of growing old but the risk of having dementia increases with age. Most people who are affected by dementia are over 65, but there are many people younger than this.

Dementia in the UK


... people have dementia in the UK.

Less than 20%

... of people over 80 have dementia.

Only 43%

...of people with dementia have actually been diagnosed.

The term dementia covers many illness, the most well-known being Alzheimer's disease. Other types of dementia include vascular dementia, which can develop following a stroke, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia.

When someone has dementia, they may have increasing problems with their memory, they may become more confused or they may have problems thinking or doing things they used to find easy. Dementia can affect speech and mood, and how people perceive the world around them.

Dementia not only affects the sufferer, but also those around them and in the wider community.

Read our article about dementia from four different angles

Living well with dementia

Getting diagnosed with dementia doesn’t mean life stops being enjoyable. By taking steps to help yourself manage early on, it’s possible to live comfortably and happily for many years.

  • Tips to help you live well
  • Driving with dementia
  • Working with dementia
  • Going on holiday
  • Dementia and music

Get more information

Planning for the future

Thinking about the future can be daunting, but there are ways of ensuring now that your wishes will be met at a later date. You can then be confident that your dementia won’t prevent you from having input on how your affairs are dealt with.

  • Legal affairs, including Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), wills, and advanced decisions
  • Financial affairs, including direct debits, third party mandates and benefits

Plan for the future

Caring and dementia

Caring for a dementia sufferer can be a demanding job, but there is lots of support available to carers of dementia patients, both financially and emotionally.

  • Carers groups to find emotional support from other carers
  • Managing money and applying for carers allowance
  • When the dementia sufferer’s needs become too much to manage at home
  • End of life care
  • Communicating with a dementia sufferer

Get more information

Related articles

Timothy West and Prunella Scales - one of British acting’s most loved couples - discuss Prunella’s dementia diagnosis and how it hasn’t stopped them from pursuing their passions in life.

Speak to someone at your local Age UK for face-to-face help and support.


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