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Dementia Myths

A young person hugging and older adult.

MYTH: Dementia will eventually become Alzheimer’s disease.

REALITY: The term dementia is very broad and simply refers to brain failure that is happening because of an underlying disease. While 60-80% of those living with dementia have Alzheimer’s disease, there are other causes of dementia that will not necessarily turn into Alzheimer’s symptoms.

MYTH: My grandma had dementia, so I will get it, too.

REALITY: Although having a family history of dementia slightly raises a person's risk of developing the disease, the most significant risk factor is age. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in nine people age 65 have Alzheimer’s disease, but that increases to one in three after age 85.

MYTH: Dementia can be caused by things I eat or am exposed to.

REALITY: Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine is important for your brain, as well as your body. However, be skeptical of claims that a specific food or nutrient is a significant cause of dementia.

MYTH: My loved one’s behaviors, such as wandering and agitation, are caused by the disease.

REALITY: Dementia changes how a person understands and responds to the world around them. However, a lot of behaviors common to dementia are triggered by something in the environment, such as body language, obstacles, light and shadows, and more. Like you, people with dementia respond to what’s around them, but because of their dementia, their responses may not be what you expect.

MYTH: I must stop someone with dementia from wandering.

REALITY: When safety is not a concern, it may be best to allow your loved one to wander. Instead of stopping them or trying to redirect them, ask them what or who they’re looking for. This can give you some insight into their reality and helps build trust.