Dementia is a loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases. It affects memory, thinking, language, judgment, and behavior.  The following medical conditions can lead to dementia:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Intoxication from medications (including over-the-counter drugs) and alcohol
  • Delirium
  • AIDS
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Severe depression
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Malnutrition
  • Tumors
  • Problems with the heart, lungs or blood vessels (e.g., strokes related to hypertension or one or more large strokes)
  • Metabolic disorders (such as thyroid problems)
  • Head injury
  • Infection that infects the brain causing permanent brain damage
  • Deficiency in Vitamin B1 or B12
  • Vision or hearing problems

When caring for a person with dementia, don’t take the person’s negative behavior personally and try to avoid situations that could cause feelings of anxiety in the person. Encourage physical activity during the day that can reduce wandering at night. Promote self-care by encouraging what the person can do; provide planned activities; and repeat activities that the person enjoys.