Dementia: Not a Normal Part of Aging, Pt. 1

An Introduction to Dementia

By Diane Cummins on January 3, 2023

We have all heard of dementia, but what, exactly, is it? Do all older adults get dementia? Let's explore the answers to those questions and more in today's post.

According to the Alzheimer's Association (2022), dementia is a general term used to describe the loss of memory, problem-solving, language, and other thinking abilities that is severe enough to interfere with daily life. Dementia itself is not a disease.

Much like the term "heart disease", dementia covers an array of specific medical conditions. Disorders that are included under the term "dementia" are caused by abnormal changes in the brain that trigger a decline in cognitive ability and negatively impact behavior, feelings, and relationships. There are different types of dementia:

Is Dementia Preventable?

Unfortunately, there is no certain way to prevent all types of dementia; however,  a healthy lifestyle has been shown to decrease the risk of developing dementia in a person's later years. A healthy lifestyle can help prevent cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke, which are risk factors for Alzheimer's and vascular dementia, the two most common types of dementia. Other risk factors for dementia include:


Alzheimer's Association. (2022). What is Alzheimer's disease?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Loneliness and social isolation linked to serious health conditions. 

Vemuri et al. (2014). Association of lifetime intellectual enrichment with cognitive decline in the older population.