What is Dementia?

Dementia in Ireland

Anyone of us can get dementia. 55,000 people in Ireland are living with dementia and 500,000 Irish people have had a family member with dementia.

The number of people living with dementia in Ireland is expected to more than double by 2031.

Over 11 people a day develop dementia in Ireland.

In Ireland there are over 4,000 people under 65 living with dementia.

There are almost twice as many women as men living with dementia in Ireland – Two thirds of people living with dementia in Ireland are women

1 in 2 people in Ireland know someone who has been diagnosed with dementia

It is estimated that at least 180,000 people in Ireland have cared for a partner or family member living with dementia

What is Dementia?

Dementia is not one specific condition – it’s actually caused by diseases which affect the brain and result in loss of function for the person. These diseases affect the parts of the brain which are normally used for learning, memory, decision-making and language and dementia is the umbrella term for the symptoms and loss of function which people experience when they are affected.

The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. This accounts for about two thirds of all cases of dementia.

The second most common type is vascular dementia, which is caused by conditions which affect the blood circulation in the brain

Most people with dementia are older but it is important to remember that not all older people get dementia - 9 out of 10 older people do not have dementia. It is not a normal part of ageing.

Although the majority of people with dementia are over 65 years of age, dementia can and does affect younger people.

People who are diagnosed with dementia before they are 65 years of age are described as having early or young onset dementia.

Dementia is usually progressive, which means that for most the symptoms get worse over time. Dementia is different for everyone – what people experience, and how quickly they are affected is unique to them. What they can do, remember and understand may change from day to day.