Understanding Dementia

Part 1: What is Dementia?

Dementia is a fatal, progressive, and degenerative disease that destroys brain cells.

Dementia is not a normal part of aging. Symptoms include difficulty remembering things, making decisions, and performing everyday activities. These changes can affect how a person feels and acts. There is currently no way to stop the disease, but research is improving the way we provide care and will continue to search for a cure.

While dementia may be the title we give to the disease, there are many types of dementia, as illustrated below. Dementia is an umbrella term. Mixed dementia is diagnosed when the person living with dementia experiences more than one type concurrently. There are, however, other types of dementia that we will not deal with in detail here.

The Brain as a Highway System

Let’s now explore the changing brain function of a person living with dementia. The highway system analogy used in the video below illustrates brain function.

The video is 10:29 minutes in length.

If you'd like to watch the video again from beginning to end or are doing so for the first time, please feel free to pause it whenever you need to and jot down any questions that arise

Video Transcripts

Download these PDFs of the Video Transcript if you would like to print a copy and save as a reference.

For Reflection...

After you watch the video, take a few minutes to reflect on the following questions.  Feel free to make some notes.

  • What stood out for you in the video?
  • What question(s) do you have about what you heard or saw during the video?

Make a note of them and bring them up during your next conversation with your healthcare provider. Alternatively, you can contact your local Alzheimer's Society via our toll-free number, 1-866-950-5465, or by email: info@alzheimer.ab.ca.

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