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Is Dementia and Alzheimer’s the Same?

Is Dementia and Alzheimer’s the Same?



Many people mistakenly use the terms dementia and alzheimer’s disease interchangeably, though the terms do not have the same meaning. Alzheimer’s disease is, in fact, the most common form of dementia, while dementia describes a collection of symptoms which may be but are not necessarily caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Confusion between the meanings of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease stems from their similar symptoms, such as forgetfulness, time disorientation and a reduced ability to communicate effectively with others.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia:

Dementia is a decline in brain function that affects thinking, memory, language, judgment, and behaviour. As we get older, most of us will experience some difficulties with memory. We’ve all at sometime forgotten a name, where we placed the car keys, or why we walked into a room. But this is normal forgetfulness and does not necessarily indicate dementia.

Dementia describes a collection of symptoms indicating that thinking processes are deteriorating, affecting the person’s ability to carry out daily activities.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s

So what is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Although it is the most common type of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease affects the parts of the brain that control memory thought, and language. It is a progressive disease, and symptoms will lead to increasing concerns for friends and family. The person may fail to recognize familiar people and places, and will have problems speaking, understanding, reading, writing, and performing daily activities. During the later stages of the disease, he or she may become anxious and/or aggressive and can have a tendency to wander. Eventually, the person will need total care.

It affects person with more intensity as time goes on, and is sometimes dismissed in the early stages as forgetfulness that is expected to occur with age. While some degree of memory loss is to be expected as a healthy person ages, significant changes in memory and cognitive function ensure a visit to a specialist for evaluation.

Signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s to see in a loved one

Dementia and Alzheimer’s

  1. Memory loss: Forgetting recent information is one of the most common possible early signs of dementia. A person will forget more often and the person is unable to recall the information later.
  2. Difficulty in performing familiar tasks: People with dementia and Alzheimer’s often find it hard to plan or complete everyday tasks including personal grooming and household management.  
  3. Problems with language: People with Alzheimer’s and dementia often forget simple words or substitute unusual words, making their writing or speech hard to understand.  
  4. Disorientation to place and time: People with Alzheimer’s disease can become lost in their own neighbourhood, forget where they are and how they got there, and not know how to get back home.
  5. Poor or decreased judgment: Those with Alzheimer’s or dementia may dress inappropriately, wearing several layers on a warm day or little clothing in the cold.
  6. Problems with abstract thinking: They may have unusual difficulty performing complex mental tasks, like forgetting what numbers are for and how they should be used.
  7. Misplacing things: A person with dementia may put things in unusual places: an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.
  8. Change in mood or behaviour: Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may show rapid mood swings – from calm to tears to anger – for no apparent reason.
  9. Change in personality: People with dementia can change dramatically. They may become extremely suspicious, confused, fearful or dependent on a family member.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care

We encourage you to seek professional help if you see these signs of dementia in yourself or a loved one. Early diagnosis of the disease or other disorders causing dementia is an important step to getting proper treatment, care and support services.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s

For dementia and Alzheimer’s caregivers: if you have concerns that a loved one might have some form of dementia, or if your loved one has been diagnosed, feel free to ask for help. People with dementia and Alzheimer’s can get the help in the early stages by coordinating medical professionals, securing a good diagnostic workup, walking you through what to expect and options, and planning ahead. Often, family members have trouble because their loved one does not wish to acknowledge there is a problem and they do not know how to get them to accept help, or even go to a specialist for an evaluation. Our professionals can be invaluable in strategizing ways to work through these challenges.

A word of caution:

Everyone has a role to play in being a support about dementia and alzheimer’s issues. Support refers to the action a person can take to create a change; a change in the life of oneself and a loved one suffering from the disease. It also refers to the things we do to improve the situation of yourself and loved one by simply seeking help. To gain more information about how to help a loved one with dementia and alzheimer’s, or any help you require, feel free to call us. Contact us at or visit our website- Cadabam’s for more information. Do you have any questions? Email us at  info@localhost