This information is taken from the Dutch ALzheimer website in December of 2011



Dementia is a condition of the brain that slowly but steadily makes a person completely dependant on the care of others. Statistics show that 1 in 5 people are affected by a form of dementia, of which Alzheimers is the most common.
Dementia is a collective name for over fifty diseases. Some of the forms of dementia are: Alzheimers, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and Lewy body dementia.

Reduction in nerve cells.

In dementia increasing numbers of nerve cells in the brain and/or connections between these nerve cells die. This hampers brain function. In some people the process of dementia can move very quickly, while others can live a normal life for years.
Eventually the effects of dementia cause a person to be weakened to the stage that they die from illness or infection (lamonia) or the inability to swallow.

Memory lapses.

In the early stages of the disease the memory lapses are most noticeable. In later stages a person with dementia will develop problems with thought and language. There may also be changes in personality and behavioral problems. As the disease progresses, someone with dementia will lose more and more control over their own lives: They become more dependant on help from others and daily acts become more difficult.

Forgetfulness or dementia?

Forgetfulness and dementia are not the same thing. Forgetfulness is a harmless occurance in which someone temporarily fails to remember something. In dementia the information is no longer accessible and seems lost forever.

Number of people with dementia.

The Netherlands currently count 235.000 people with dementia. Due to an aging population this problem will see a meteoric rise in the future: In 2050 over half a million people will suffer from dementia. Even people at a younger age are susceptible to dementia. The estimate is that there are 12.000 people suffering from dementia under the age of 65 in the Netherlands.

Chances for a person to be afflicted with dementia.

The chance of a person to become afflicted with dementia at some stage in their life is 20 percent. For women the chances are even higher with 30 percent. The older a person is the greater the chance of the dementia syndrome. Other risk factors that could influence the risk of dementia are hereditary factors and certain lifestyle habits such as smoking.


As of yet there are no cures for Alzheimers or any of the other forms of dementia. There are however, medicines that can delay the process of the illness. Throughout the world research is being done for the causes, possible prevention and treatment of dementia. In the netherlands a lot of research is being done by the Alzheimers centers.