Understanding Dementia: A Guide for Caring for a Dementia Patient

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In this guide, we’ve signposted some of the best resources online to help you better understand dementia – from facts and figures to treatment and support.


Dementia currently affects more than 55 million across the world. In the UK, there are an estimated 900,000 people with dementia, and 540,000 people caring for someone with dementia – often a family member.

As people continue to live longer, the world now has an ageing population – the number of people aged 60 or over are predicted to account for 16.4% of the population by 2030. This means that age-related syndromes such as dementia become a global challenge. In the UK, dementia is already the number one cause of death, and unfortunately there is no cure.

Early diagnosis is the best way to get someone showing symptoms of early dementia the help they need, which is why understanding dementia is vital not only for dementia carers, but for the population in general.

Facts and Figures

Globally, dementia is the seventh leading cause of death among all disease, and is the leading cause of death in the UK. With the syndrome only becoming more prevalent due to our ageing population, looking ahead may show us what we need to do today.

The following websites and publications are good resources for finding facts and figures about dementia.

World Health Organisation

Dementia Factsheet

This fact sheet takes a global perspective on dementia and its symptoms, forms, and the rates of dementia around the world. 

Alzheimer’s Disease International

Dementia Facts and Figures

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, contributing to around 60-70% of cases. This fact sheet has a wide range of key figures you may be interested to know about dementia, such as that globally, the syndrome has a worldwide cost of US$1.3trillion. 

Social Care Institute for Excellence

About Dementia

SCIE promotes knowledge and understanding about best practices in social care and health services. This guide provides a useful overview of dementia in the UK, including key statistics, forms of dementia, and national dementia strategies.

Understanding Dementia

The following organisations have a wealth of knowledge for understanding dementia, as well as ways to find support for both someone with dementia and dementia carers.

Alzheimer’s Society

Five things to know about dementia

Alzheimer’s Society is a vital source of information, force for change, and support for everyone affected by dementia. The organisation has countless factsheets, support services, guides, and fundraising opportunities to help people gain a better understanding of the challenges facing dementia awareness.

Dementia UK

More info

Dementia UK aims to support everyone and anyone affected by dementia. The organisation has a range of resources to help you better understand the syndrome, as well as ways you can seek support and get involved.

Types of Dementia

Alzheimer’s Research UK

Types of dementia

This guide covers the main forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, young onset dementia, vascular dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies.

National Institute on Aging

Understanding types of dementia

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) published this useful infographic explaining the most common different types of dementia. The infographic is available to be shared on social media to increase awareness.

Symptoms of Dementia


Dementia symptoms

The NHS has a detailed guide identifying the key symptoms of dementia, which can include memory loss, struggling to follow a conversation, and difficulty concentrating.

Alzheimer’s Disease Intentional

This infographic shows the 10 most common signs of dementia.

Getting a Dementia Diagnosis

The NHS has an in-depth guide to getting a dementia diagnosis, which starts with seeing your GP first. You may then be referred to a dementia specialist.

Alternatively, you could also call Dementia UK’s free Dementia Helpline on 0800 888 6678 or email [email protected] for further advice and support on getting a diagnosis for you, a family member, or friend.

Support for Carers

Our guide on Support for Carers provides a signpost for all the various avenues of support available to dementia carers, from financial support such as carer’s allowance, to finding a local support group so you don’t feel alone.

Training for dementia carers

This guide provides a breakdown of where you can find training as an unpaid dementia carer. Training typically covers topics such as: