Dementia is an acquired deterioration in cognitive ability that impairs the successful performance of activities of daily living. Memory is the most common cognitive ability lost with dementia; 10% of persons age >70 and 20–40% of individuals age >85 have clinically identifiable memory loss. Other mental faculties are also affected in dementia, such as language, visuospatial ability, calculation, judgment, and problem solving. Neuropsychiatric and social deficits develop in many dementia syndromes, resulting in depression, withdrawal, hallucinations, delusions, agitation, insomnia, and disinhibition. Dementia is usually chronic and progressive.

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