Dementia is not a normal part of the ageing process. Nor is dementia a single disease. Rather, dementia is an umbrella term used to describe the loss of memory and thinking ability that is caused by different diseases which damage the brain.

Dementia is the leading cause of disability and dependency in older adults, affecting almost 8 million people in the European Union. However, every person with dementia is unique. Dementia affects people in many different ways, depending on the type of dementia they have as well as personal factors such as their social situation and personality.

There are many different types of dementia, and they are all progressive and life-limiting. This means that dementia symptoms can vary widely from person to person and will evolve over time. Typical symptoms of dementia include memory loss and disorientation, as well as problems with thinking, mood and practical activities in daily life.  These symptoms are usually relatively mild in the early stages but gradually get worse as dementia progresses.

Alzheimer’s dementia is the most common form of dementia, thought to account for over 50% of cases. In this section, we explain the causes, symptoms and progression of Alzheimer's dementia.
While Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, there are many other types as well. In this section, we explain the causes and main signs of some of the different types of dementia.
Europe has an aging population, with more than one fifth of the EU population aged 65 or over in 2020. As the primary risk factor for dementia is age, the prevalence of dementia is also rising. Here, we present our recent findings on the prevalence of dementia in Europe.