Cognition and memory disorders

Dementia is not a specific disease. It is a broad term used to describe a long-term, often slow decline in mental ability, severe enough that it affects daily life. 

Common symptoms of dementia include memory loss, impaired judgment, inability to focus and a breakdown in the ability to communicate and use language. Although dementia occurs mainly in older adults, this type of serious mental decline is not a normal part of the aging process. Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases.

Memory loss can be caused by a number of other conditions, some of which can be reversed. If you or a loved one are experiencing memory loss or a decline in thinking skills, it’s important to seek medical attention. The health care experts at Allina Health can help determine the cause and offer treatment and care options.

Listen to the WELLcast

Care for aging parents: What is normal memory loss and when should we be concerned? (Select the topic "Aging" to find this WELLcast.)

Read more in the e-newsletter

The Allina Health Cognition and Memory Program's innovative approach to dementia care is highlighted in The Commonwealth Fund e-newsletter. Read the article: In Focus: Spreading Innovative Approaches to Dementia Care.

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