Meanings - Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer's
by Sheila Moody
become confused about the distinctions. Types of dementia may include Alzheimer's,
Lewy Body Disease, Pick's Disease, Parkinson's related dementia, and Vascular
Dementia. Alzheimer's is the most common type, and Vascular Dementia is second
most common. Some people suffer from more than one type of dementia.
What's normal? Normal aging can cause some minor changes in memory or learning,
but not in a way that affects functioning. If you know someone who repeats
questions frequently, has trouble following their daily routine, frequently cannot find
the right word, or is disoriented to time and place, these are signs of Alzheimer's or
another type of dementia-not normal aging. It is important to get a good diagnosis,
because there are some reversible causes of these symptoms. Depression,
medication misuse or side effects, thyroid problems, and vitamin deficiencies can all
present symptoms similar to Alzheimer's. It is important to get a thorough medical
workup if you identify these symptoms. See below for warning signs compared to
normal age related changes.
Help for Alzheimer's Caregivers: Senior Home Care USA is a good place to start if
you have concerns that a loved one might have some form of dementia, or if your
loved one has been diagnosed. A care manager can 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, families 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 doctor for an
evaluation. A care manager can be invaluable in strategizing ways to work through
these challenges. Our services are customized to work with just these types of
As the disease progresses, your care manager can be your caregiving coach and
resource partner. Our job is to anticipate needs and issues and help you plan, as well
as to be a sounding board to your frustrations and concerns. There are many issues
that may arise: the need for in home help, wandering,driving concerns, knowing
when it may be time to consider a care facility.
Warning Signs of Possible Alzheimer's or other form of Dementia:
1. Memory loss. Forgetting recently learned information is one of the most common
early signs of dementia. A person begins to forget more often and is unable to recall
the information later.
2. What's normal? Forgetting names or appointments occasionally.
Difficulty performing familiar tasks. People with dementia often find it hard to plan or
complete everyday tasks including personal grooming and household management.
Individuals may lose track of the steps involved in preparing a meal, placing a
telephone call or playing a game.
3. Problems with language. People with Alzheimer's disease often forget simple
words or substitute unusual words, making their speech or writing hard to
understand. They may be unable to find the toothbrush, for example, and instead ask
for "that thing for my mouth."
4. Disorientation to time and place. People with Alzheimer's disease can become lost
in their own neighborhood, 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 may dress inappropriately,
wearing several layers on a warm day or little clothing in the cold. They may show
poor judgment, like giving away large sums of money to telemarketers. What's
normal? Making a questionable or debatable decision from time to time
6. Problems with abstract thinking. Someone with Alzheimer's disease 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 Alzheimer's disease may put things in unusual
places: an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.
8. Changes in mood or behavior. Someone with Alzheimer's disease may show rapid
mood swings - from calm to tears to anger - for no apparent reason.
9. Changes in personality. The personalities of people with dementia can change
dramatically.They may become extremely confused, suspicious, fearful or dependent
on a family member.
10.Loss of initiative. A person with Alzheimer's disease may become very passive,
sitting in front of the TV for hours, sleeping more than usual or not wanting to do
We encourage you to seek a diagnostic workup if you see these signs in yourself or a
loved one.Early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or other disorders causing dementia
is an important step to getting appropriate treatment, care and support services.
These warning signs and other information can be found through the Alzheimer's
About The Author
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Dementia is the syndrome of
symptoms such as memory loss and
decreasing ability to handle the daily
functions of life. Dementia is not an
early form of Alzheimer's or some
less serious disease, it is simply a
catch-all term that describes
Alzheimer's, Vascular Dementia, and
other specific diseases. It is frequently
used because people may not have a
specific diagnosis yet or due to the
fact that many of the symptoms are
common in any type of dementia.
Because professionals often
interchange the terms for general
discussion purposes, people have
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