Dementia

Dementia can have many causes. Usually there is a growing decline in memory, and everyday skills such as language and concentration can also be affected.

Overview

Dementia can have many causes. Usually there is a growing decline in memory, and everyday skills such as language and concentration can also be affected. Quizzes and brain-teasers, social contact and activities such as going to the theatre help maintain mental performance

Symptoms

Main symptoms

  • Memory disorders
    • Short-term memory is frequently affected first, and later also long-term memory

Other symptoms

  • Problems with orientation
  • Worsening of everyday skills: counting, language, concentration
  • Personality changes (e.g. severe anxiety, aggression)
  • Depression
  • Using things for the wrong purpose, e.g. using the oven as a heater
  • With time, patients often require care

Causes and treatment

Causes

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Dementia tests (e.g. mini mental state exam, clock-drawing test, MoCA test, etc.)
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • CT scan (computed tomography)
  • Neurological examination (testing of brain functions, walking along a line, etc.)
  • Blood test (blood salts, haemoglobin, sugar, etc.)
Possible therapies
  • Treatment of a possible trigger (e.g. antibiotics for borreliosis )
  • If Alzheimer's is the cause, treatment with medication can be tried (antidementives)
  • Treatment of the consequences of dementia (e.g. antidepressants for depression)

What can I do myself?

  • “Brain training”: quizzes and brain-teasers, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, etc.
  • Regular exercise
  • Keep up social contacts
  • Activities such as cinema, theatre, etc.
  • As a close relative, show lots of patience
    • Long-term memory can be activated with photos, etc.
    • As few changes as possible to the patient's daily routine
    • Caring for a patient with dementia is demanding: make use of offers of help at an early stage

When to see a doctor?

  • Growing forgetfulness
  • Difficulties coping with everyday life
  • Growing neglect (e.g. body hygiene is neglected)

Further information

Alzheimer Schweiz (Alzheimer Switzerland)
www.alzheimer-schweiz.ch

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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