We're all getting older. And as we get older, our physical and mental capacities change – our ability to learn, for example, or the performance of our memory. But what kinds of changes are normal, and what kinds of changes should be taken seriously as a sign of dementia?

The number of older people is constantly increasing, as is their share of the population. Consequently, the number of cases of dementia is rising as well. For many forms of dementia, age is the most important risk factor. There are currently just over 100,000 people in Switzerland suffering from dementia. According to projections of the Swiss Alzheimer's Association (Schweizerische Alzheimervereinigung), that number is set to double by the year 2030 and treble by 2050.

Take the warning signs seriously

Dementia can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Your ability to learn may not be what it was, or your memory may deteriorate. Read our brochure (PDF, 584KB) to find out what other warning signs may indicate a case of dementia.

Cognitive disorders must be taken seriously. Not only do they occur frequently; they have consequences for both dementia sufferers and their family members. An early diagnosis is advantageous, as the earlier treatment begins, the more favourable the outcome for patients and their families. The treatment is multi-faceted and by no means restricted to the prescription of drugs.

Take advantage of what's on offer

The first port of call if you have concerns about your cognitive performance is your family doctor. If there are reasons for suspecting dementia, the doctor may then refer you to specialists such as neurologists, radiologists and others in order to establish a diagnosis. In larger urban areas there are memory clinics that specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of dementia. Read our brochure (PDF, 584KB) to find out what's on offer and what you can do if you suspect that you or a member of your family may be showing signs of dementia.

The Swiss Alzheimer's Association

Knowledge helps. The Swiss Alzheimer's Association is an independent charitable organisation that is not bound by ties to any church or political organisation. It offers information, advice and assistance and is committed to the provision of appropriate care and support.

Read more about what the Swiss Alzheimer's Association has to offer. Alternatively, call the association on +41 (0)24 426 06 06.