When people become forgetful, they often wonder if this is normal or the first sign of dementia. These days, coctors can diagnose dementia at a very early stage. Although a cure is not yet possible, the progression of the disease can be slowed down by early treatment.

What is dementia and what should I look for?

Dementia often develops stealthily and is often associated with the loss of mental functions such as thought, memory or orientation. Depending on the form of dementia suffered and the course which it takes, the disease can cause a loss of independence.

Alzheimer’s disease

Suffered by 60% of those affected by dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. It is a degenerative disease of the brain; cerebral nerve cells are destroyed irreversibly. Alzheimer’s is characterized by its stealthy development.

Vascular dementia

Vascular dementia results from a circulatory disorder in the blood flow in the brain and results in the death of nerve tissue. Small strokes often result in the destruction of brain cells. The course taken by the disease is determined by the degree of the disruption to the circulation. Vascular dementia is characterized by its sudden onset and stepwise deterioration.


A clear diagnosis should be made by a family doctor or neurologist.

Where can I find help?

The NRW Dementia Service Centers

The State of NRW maintain 13 Dementia Service Centers which provide comprehensive support services and give tips on information events that those affected can visit.

Navigate to the State Dementia Initiative in North Rhine-Westphalia(German only)

Seminars from BARMER

Those in need can take the seven, two-hour, free-of-charge “Understanding Dementia” seminar organized by pflegeArt Beratung-Seminare GbR and BARMER Bonn care fund.

Those interested in taking part should contact the Office of Family Services (

Online care courses

BARMER is currently hosting a range of (german) online courses about caring for those with dementia. Learn more here. (German only)

The Office of Family Services holds a comprehensive range of (german) brochures providing information about dementia. Feel free to get in touch.


Please feel free to contact us to arrange individual and comprehensive advice. 

Avatar Lohmer

Stefanie Lohmer

Please also read

A guidebook to caring for family members with dementia 

The Federal Ministry of Health has published a (german) guidebook for those caring for relatives with dementia.

Everything you need to know about dementia

The  Alzheimer's Society provides detailed information about the diagnosis, symptoms and treatment of dementia. 

The “Caring for those with Dementia” advice forum

Address individual questions about the practical aspects of caring for someone with dementia to experts.

Learn more (German only)

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