Types of dementia

Types of dementia

There are many types of dementia but the most common causes include Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. Understanding the symptoms associated with each type of dementia can help in ensuring each person’s care needs are met. It is important to remember that no two people experience dementia in the same way. 

There are different types of dementia, the most common are: 

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Vascular dementia
  • Frontotemporal dementia
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies

What are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?

In the early stages of Alzheimer's disease symptoms may be very subtle. You may notice lapses in memory and difficulty in finding the right words for everyday objects appear as the first noticeable symptoms. Other symptoms may include forgetting well-known people or places, deterioration in social skills, loss of enthusiasm for previously enjoyed activities and emotional unpredictability. Symptoms may fluctuate from day to day and often become worse in times of stress or if the person is unwell.

What are the symptoms of vascular dementia?

Vascular dementia is the broad term which describes dementia associated with problems of circulation of blood in the brain. Symptoms vary, depending on the part of the brain where blood flow is impaired. Symptoms often overlap with those of other types of dementia, especially Alzheimer's disease and include confusion, difficulty with concentration and memory, restlessness, agitation and depression. Sometimes an increase in symptoms occurs following a series of strokes but they may also progress in a gradual steady decline.

What are the symptoms of frontotemporal dementia?

Frontotemporal dementia is a term used to describe disorders that primarily affect the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain which causes them to shrink or atrophy. These areas of the brain are generally associated with personality, behaviour and language. Some people with frontotemporal dementia have dramatic changes in their personality and may become impulsive, lack inhibition and have repetitive compulsive behaviours such as tapping or clapping together with difficulty with speech and language.

What are the symptoms of dementia with Lewy bodies?

Lewy body dementia is the second most common type of progressive dementia after Alzheimer's disease. Protein deposits, called Lewy bodies, develop in cells in the areas of the brain involved in thinking, memory and movement. People with dementia with Lewy bodies may experience visual hallucinations. Other symptoms include rigid muscles, slow movement, walking difficulty and tremors similar to those experienced in Parkinson's disease.


Types of Dementia

5 Steps into Residential Aged Care



Make sure the person requiring care has had an ACAT assessment.



Search for a residential aged care home suitability located.



Understand the costs associated with aged care.



Ensure you have all the relevant paperwork.



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Commonly asked questions about Aged Care

  • Once you have received your ACAT assessment, you can begin applying to as many care homes as you wish, but once you accept a place, it’s important that you let the other homes know that you no longer require their services.

  • Visiting a range of homes is often one of the best ways to decide which home suits your needs. To help you assess the suitability of the homes you visit, we have attached a short checklist at the end of this section. This will help you assess each home and ask some important questions to the providers you meet with.

  • The Department of Human Services (DHS) is the body that determines your financial situation. To do this, DHS conducts a Combined Income and Assets Assessment, which is a form that you need to complete and submit to the government.

  • Respite care is short-term care, including day respite, to provide your caregivers a break from caring when they need it. It can be planned or on an emergency basis and can be used for up to 63 days in a financial year. Many care homes offer day respite, which offers caregivers some flexibility to attend to personal needs and obligations as they arise.

  • The Combined Income and Assets Assessment form (SA457) is an extensive questionnaire with over 140 questions about what you and your partner/spouse own and earn. It’s important to understand that you are considered to own half your assets with your partner/spouse regardless of who holds the title to the assets. As part of your assessment, you will be asked to provide details of all assets owned by both of you.

  • Accommodation Charge (the cost of your room) - These are set by individual homes and varies from home to home

    • Basic Daily Care Fee (meals, laundry, cleaning and other day-to-day costs) – These are set by the Australian Government and is the same across every home in Australia.
    • Means-Tested Care Fee (to supplement the cost of your overall care) - These are set by the Australian Government based on an assessment of your personal financial situation.
    • Additional Services Fee or Extra Services Fee - (higher-end services and accommodation) These are set by individual homes and varies from home to home.In some homes, Additional Services or Extra Services are optional and in other homes, residents are required to purchase these services as a condition of entry

    For further information download our 5 step guide.