What is dementia?

The term describes a host of conditions associated with the gradual deterioration of the brain's functions. These can include problems with reasoning and communication, speed of thinking, comprehension, mental agility, memory loss and feelings of anxiety, depression or anger. Its causes are various brain diseases, the most well-known being Alzheimer's, which affects 62% of cases. Dementia is not simply part of the ageing process; it can be caused by changes to the brain structure and gradual damage to the brain cells.

Visual impairment is a common symptom of dementia however, it is also a symptom of aging. 35% of those aged 75+ and 50% of 90+ have sight loss which affects their day to day living. People with sight loss are much more likely to have problems with day to day living, feel their quality of life is lower, feel less satisfied with life, have lower confidence, lower levels of wellbeing, and higher levels of depression*. Many of the principles of designing for dementia take visual impairment into account, helping more residents to live well.

*‘Later Life in the United Kingdom’, Age UK June 2016.