Dementia is formally defined as “a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning.”

Dementia is also referred to a variety of other terms, some accurate, others not-so accurate. Those terms can include: Alzheimer’s, the most common type of dementia, “Old-timers,” cognitive impairment, or senility. To add to the confusion, there are a variety of potential diagnoses less common than Alzheimer’s, like Lewy body (second most common) however, while a specific diagnosis is most helpful in treatment and strategies, the common term “dementia” can be outlined across most diseases.

To that end, according to, dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an overall term that describes a wide variety of symptoms. The term dementia describes a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life, memory loss being the most common example.

Alzheimer’s disease accounts for up to 80% of cases, but Vascular Dementia, which generally occurs after a stroke, is also common. There are also reversible dementias caused by thyroid issues and even vitamin deficiencies.

The most common symptoms of dementia include: memory loss, communication and language difficulty (word salad), reduced ability to focus and pay attention, impaired reason or judgement, and reduced visual perception.

Many dementias are progressive and slowly get worse. Situational or reversible dementia, more likely a lack of focus, can be caused by a severe increase in stress, a traumatic stress event, general anxiety, or other lifestyle issues. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to determining what is causing dementia, and the fact is that it might NOT be something as serious as Alzheimer’s.

Click HERE for tips to help with cognitive impairment due to depression.


Will Parrish, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ CDFA™ is a founding partner of Slate, Disharoon, Parrish and Associates, LLC, and is located in Knoxville, Tennessee specializing in services for medical professionals, business owners, and corporate executives, and divorce financial planning. Feel free to contact Will with questions via email or directly by phone at (865) 357-7373. Visit their website,

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