Dementia is a general term referring to various types of declines in memory, concentration and judgment. Dementia has a variety of causes, but strokes, toxins, head injuries, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s are among the most common.

Early signs of dementia include apathy, withdrawal, confusion, short term memory loss, problems following or maintaining conversations, disorientation (especially in unfamiliar areas), difficulty planning ahead, struggles with daily tasks such as balancing checkbooks, loss of initiative and motivation, loss of interests and a diminished ability to learn new skills.

As improved healthcare and nutrition allow people to live longer, the downside has been a soaring frequency of dementia. In fact, as many as half of those aged 80 and above may suffer from some form of dementia.

Usually a progressive disease, in the early stages it’s common for the sufferer to experience severe anxiety as well. People with mild dementia know that something’s wrong and gravely fear the future. They worry about embarrassing themselves, money, becoming lost, the impact of their disease on loved ones, losing control of basic bodily functions and even losing their identities or sense of who they are.

In these early stages, sufferers and their family members often minimize and deny what’s going on. They “write off” memory lapses as “senior moments.” They note that the memory problems are mostly with regard to recent events and wrongly believe that since they can remember events that are decades old, perhaps the problems are not serious. You could argue that a little minimization and denial for a while represent reasonable attempts to cope.

However, it’s important to deal with dementia when the signs crop up. Plans need to be made and support and help can be gathered. Although most dementias are not highly treatable, there are times that medical intervention has some value. Furthermore, independence can be maintained longer with appropriate planning. And it’s important to have open conversations in the early stages so that all involved understand what’s going on and how everyone feels. Caregivers are also at substantial risk for experiencing anxiety and depression. They need to get support from other family members and outside resources.

The Alzheimer’s Association has tons of information, message boards for caregivers and sufferers alike, and a 24/7 helpline. Check them out!



View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 0 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.


Prof.Lakshman (July 6, 2010)

From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (July 6, 2010)

    Last reviewed: 6 Jul 2010

APA Reference
Elliott, C. (2010). Dealing with Dementia Anxiety. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 2, 2015, from


Anxiety & OCD Exposed

Subscribe to this Blog:



Purchase Overcoming Anxiety for Dummies now! Purchase Child Psychology and Development for Dummies now!

Laura L. Smith, Ph.D. and Charles H. Elliott, Ph.D. are authors of many books, including Overcoming Anxiety for Dummies and Child Psychology & Development for Dummies.

Subscribe to this Blog: Feed

Recent Comments
  • Kat: I am really grateful to have come across this article. I don’t think anyone is going to read this but oh...
  • Whaat?: I’ve read all of these comments and there are several opinions here, which we are all entitled to;...
  • Sharon: I am learning (just recently) to use mindfulness and exposure therapy with DBT for anxiety issues and...
  • Beverley: I am speaking as a non bpd sufferer but someone who is in a,relationship with a bpd sufferer who is...
  • Beverley: I think in response to Chris you need to shave this back a bit. There is a duty of care to yourself first...
Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code

Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!