The Definition of Dementia - What Does It Mean?

The definition of dementia is fairly simple. Dementia is a group of diseases that cause a permanent decline of person's ability to think, reason and manage his own life. Dementia is caused by biological processes within the brain that damage brain cells.

Diseases like Alzheimer's disease, Lewy body disease or vacular dementia that are classified as dementias have several factors in common.

They cause a person
to have impaired memory, forgetfulness and an inability to retain new information.
to lose the ability to speak and be understood by others and the ability to understand written or spoken language.
to lose the ability to plan, make good judgements and carry out multi-step tasks.
to lose the ability to process and understand visual information.

These losses mean that a person with dementia cannot manage his own day-to-day and personal care.

The implications for a person with this diagnosis and her family can be staggering.

Dementia is an umbrella term like cancer. We know when we hear that someone is diagnosed with cancer that there is more to the story. We know to ask which organs or parts of the body are affected.

When you hear a diagnosis of dementia there is more to the story too. As a patient, as a family member you need to zero in on what type of dementia you are dealing with. Each disease under the umbrella has a different course of illness, different symptoms and different challenges. The drug treatments and interventions may be different as well.

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What Clients are Saying

"Working with Janice made all the difference in how we handled a series of frustrating, bang-your-head-in-the-wall set of family eldercare issues.

If you have an elder in your life that is looking to you for love and care, especially a parent, long distance or local, give yourself the gift of peace of mind - talk to Janice."

Jeannie S.-San Mateo, CA


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My brothers and I noticed that my Dad was exhausted from taking care of my mother.

We had a family meeting and hired Janice to lead it. She was there for us, put in a very difficult position, on short notice and on a Sat. night (it happened to be the only time all of us could meet) and she handled it very well. She really got us started/focused on the right track and framed things in a way that worked for all of us. We now meet monthly without Janice, but know that she is there any time we need her. I have recommended her to every one and anyone I know dealing with the issues of caring for our elders."

Mary A.-Redwood City, CA


Janice Wallace was able to provide excellent guidance and suggestions that helped break down the communications barriers and facilitated a calmer, more constructive dialog between my brother and myself about the care for our parents. Janice is an excellent listener, generous with her time and is willing to go the extra mile to overcome the complex interpersonal issues that are so often associated with elder care concerns."

Jeff F.-San Francisco, CA