It is worth noting that while dementia shows itself as a mental condition it is due to physical circumstances - the brain being old or damaged. When the degradation is caused by mental factors, such as post traumatic stress disorder, it is not counted as dementia. It is also worth noting that doctors will not diagnose someone as having dementia if they have always had low level higher mental functions - if someone grows up having an extremely bad memory or poor reasoning skills.
Furthermore, having a poor memory or reasoning from age alone doesn’t mean that a person has dementia, just as being eccentric doesn’t mean that someone is mentally ill, the difference being when a person can no long function within certain normal parameters. For example an elderly person regularly forgetting what day it is would not, in itself, count as a sign of dementia, whereas someone forgetting a key fact such as their own or a close loved one’s name would.
Like with any illness, the diagnosis should be made by a doctor. Sadly, if a person really does have dementia, they cannot be cured, only cared for and it can often be very distressing both for the person with dementia and those that love them. Groups such as Dementia UK and Admiral Nurses exist to help people with their dementia and their loved ones and can be contacted by email at [email protected] or phone on 0845 257 9406 respectively.