It usually starts with the little things, maybe a misplaced key or trouble with a route a person has taken a million times before. But these small concerns soon become major worries for thousands of people in Kent.
In the first of a series of features highlighting issues affecting the golden generation, Temi Adedeji spoke to people living with the illness.
Brian Mckie has dementia and lives in a Chatham care home.
The retired auditor, who is dad to Paul Mckie, 54, and Karen Scales, 51, was widowed in 1994 when wife Anne died from cancer.
The 80-year-old used to live by himself in Peterborough, but when he started to show signs of the dementia, Paul decided to move him closer to his home in Walderslade.
Brian said: "I was born in Glasgow and as soon as the war finished, my parents moved because my father was a ship repairer.
"My father was moved up to Scotland initially because the bombing was lighter there.
"As soon as the bombings stopped, he moved back to London for the ship repairs."
Beyond that, Brian's recollection of his childhood is vague: "My memory of what happened to me as a kid doesn't exist. Little things come back, but only little items.
"I've only an idea of when this struck and stopped my memory – whether it's fact or fiction, I don't know.
"I was near a military camp that exploded and it got me, but fact or fiction, I don't know.
"I'd like to know really what caused this upset, but probably never will find out.
"One thing I can recall is that at one time my memory was first class, then at a certain age it suddenly went kaput.
"And it's been like that ever since. Occasionally things will stick in my mind from things that happened yesterday or this morning, other times it's 'what are you talking about?'"
Dementia is a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interfere with doing everyday activities.
The NHS estimates around 850,000 people in the UK live with it.
It mainly affects older people and after the age of 65 the likelihood of developing dementia roughly doubles every five years.
Paul said: "I grew up in Essex, a little place called Billericay. I had a happy childhood – there was no memory issues at that stage."
He said he started to notice a change in his dad in 2019.
"Because of the distance we didn't see him that frequently but when we spoke on the phone we got the typical repeated stories. That was one of the first things.
"But in 2019 we started noticing that dad had problems processing things, or sorting things out like where he put his keys or his glasses.
"So it's more memory things and following instructions which were the proper problem.
"Slowly it became more and more obvious dad was having trouble doing everyday chores, such as where the shops were, how to turn on the TV, how to put the oven on, understanding the cooking instructions on food packaging, so it slowly progressed.
"It made me quite sad because it's frustrating, it's hard to know how to help somebody. It was difficult where to turn to and ask for advice.
"As he was self-funded it felt like the health service didn't really seem to be an avenue to ask for advice.
"It eventually got to the point where we went up to visit dad and he went out in the middle of the night without any trousers on. We realised at that point we couldn't really support him anymore.
"That's when we really knew he needed a care home.
"We've noticed he seems more alert and with it since coming to the home. It's to do with having people around, doing activities, stimulating his mind and probably eating better.
"I'd advise people not to ignore the early signs or shrug it off as a bad day, and look for help.
"During that time my wife and I supported each other but there wasn't much support at all, we largely did it ourselves.
"It was frustrating because we didn't know if we we're doing the right thing – it's someone else life in your hands.
"My father's the person who brought me up, taught me right from wrong, just my dad."
Paul's wife Hazel, a retired IT business analyst, said: "My main role was being help and support when we would visit Brian in Peterborough.
"We used to dream about what we had to do with Brian.
"We wouldn't sleep for months on end, because all we were worried about was trying to look after Brian."
The 71-year-old added: "Without any formal support we muddled our way through. We've jokingly said we ought to write a book on it.
"One of the things we would recommend is to write down the early signs, because when we went up to Peterborough one time Brian couldn't find his car keys. That took three quarters of an hour to sort out.
"The next time we went up, he wanted to re-label all his door keys. That took an hour and half to sort out, things progressed.
"And if we had written it down we would have seen the pattern down the downward slope.
"But we hadn't seen it like that, so I would recommend that you write it down for anyone going through this for the first time.
"Because you'll see it's not just funny and frustrating, you'll see that action needs to be taken."
Sam Villanueva is the activities coordinator for support and care at the home whose role is to put together a calender of things to keep people busy and stimulated.
She said: "I've only been here just over four months and it's really good. I have a really good purpose with my job, I very much enjoy the role.
"When I first get here in the morning I help out with the breakfast, I'll walk onto the suite and say 'good morning'.
"I'll have a bit of egg and bacon with a resident, have a bit of a chat and coffee, and then we prepare for the day with the activities.
"Sometimes we will go out into the community – it could be shopping or the cafe, a pub lunch. You could go to a sports centre or even for fish and chips at the seaside.
"Other times we do things inside. It could be jewellery making, art class, exercise classes. We have Hugo the dog come in once a fortnight too."
Care home manager John Ogbe said: "We do many spontaneous activities and providing care which meets their needs.
"There's a lot of community integration, so residents can access the local church, the local community centres, local schools as well.
"We also partner with Oomph, a company which provides interactive activities online, and just make sure residents live an independent life as much as possible.
"We have a cafe here which is our hub, a lot goes on around there. Residents can celebrate their birthdays, anniversaries and relatives are always welcome to come.
"So it's a place where people love to come and spend time. We've had times where we have facilitated holidays for residents and their families.
"We're a family."
For some, however, home is the place they want to be but that can have a huge impact on all involved.
Sheppey resident Sandra Anderson is a grandmother and now carer for her husband who has dementia and hearing loss.
She says the illness has taken over his life.
The 79-year-old from Leysdown says her once "very kind and even tempered" husband Andy still recognises her but cannot name people anymore.
Recently, the 89-year-old – who was diagnosed with progressive vascular dementia a year ago – suffered a nasty fall and cut his head open while running errands.
Luckily, strangers came to his rescue to tend to him and help him out. However, the nan-of-two says his condition has become "difficult" to deal with.
"It's very difficult because you try to understand and it's a learning curve for both of us.
"I have to learn his mind isn't what it was and at times, it can be very frustrating.
She continued: "He has always been a very kind person and even-tempered, but with the dementia and the frustrations of being deaf, one thing is not helping the other."
She recalls a happier time when the couple first met. She said: "I met him years ago at a social club in Aylesbury. When I first met him he found out where I lived, and knocked at the door.
"He didn’t know I was in the back garden and he tried to push a bunch of flowers through the door.
"I could hear the noise as he was pushing flowers through the letter box. When I opened the door, he was quite surprised.
"When he’s at home he’s doing less and less now. He does like to do the back garden and sweep up the leaves and he still reads a lot.
"We’re in touch with Age Concern where on a Monday he goes there for a day like a day centre.
"It’s not a positive illness, it just get worse. To be honest, I don’t think about the end – I just take each day as it comes. I do have respite support when I need it."
Alzheimer's UK offers support for families on its website.
Importantly, a person with dementia must have a needs assessment if they ask for one. Social services can provide further advice about support and care.
They also advise that friends and family can get support through meeting and talking, or joining video calls.
Support groups such as Alzheimer’s Society’s Talking Point also exist to act as a help point for families.
They also offer practical measures with memory aids which can be found on their web-page and also ways to make a home dementia-friendly.
Tomorrow's Golden Generation looks at how older people are being encouraged to take part in a scheme combatting lonliness.