What is dementia? Meaning of dementia

What is dementia?

So what is dementia?

Dementia describes a collection of symptoms that are caused by disorders affecting the brain. In other words, dementia isn't one specific disease.  

The symptoms cause a progressive decline in the ability to think and perform everyday tasks. It can also lead to changes in personality and behaviour.

Some common symptoms include: 

  • Memory loss 
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems 
  • Difficulty completing everyday tasks 
  • Confusion about time or place 
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships 
  • Difficulty speaking or writing 
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps 
  • Decreased or poor judgement 
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities 
  • Changes in mood and personality. 

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. 

While there is no cure for dementia, it’s important to keep in mind that it is possible to continue to maintain a good quality of life for many people. 

Life may change, but finding ways to focus on physical and mental wellbeing makes dealing with the progression of the disease more manageable. People often lead active and meaningful lives for many years after their diagnosis.

While it is more commonly experienced in older people, dementia can sometimes occur in those under 65 years of age. This is known as younger onset dementia. 

One in ten people over the age of 65 experiences dementia, while three in ten are affected once they reach 85 years of age. 

What impact does dementia have on carers and families?

Dementia has a huge impact not only on the person who has been diagnosed, but also on those closest to them. Often children of someone living with dementia find roles have been reversed as they become the caregivers. Some of the feelings commonly experienced by carers include guilt, grief, loss and even anger. 

Rest assured that if you are feeling any of these things you are not alone. Even if your loved one isn’t ready to move into long-term care, feel free to arrange for a chat with our knowledgeable team who’ll be happy to offer advice or put you in touch with other carers who are going through the same thing and can offer support and understanding. 


Understanding 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.



Check out our moving checklist to ensure the smoothest move possible.

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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.