Dementia and Alzheimer’s: What’s the Difference?

Elderly man trying to remember how old he isWhile dementia and Alzheimer’s are often used interchangeably, they’re not the same. Dementia refers to the symptoms related to memory, social, and communication abilities. Alzheimer’s, on the other hand, is a disease and the most common cause of dementia among the elderly. Their symptoms can overlap, but an individual can have dementia that is not associated with Alzheimer’s.

Memory care and senior living centers in Layton share a brief difference between the two:

Dementia

Unlike Alzheimer’s, dementia is not a disease, but a syndrome caused by damage to brain cells. It’s a general term used to describe a decline in mental ability with symptoms that include memory loss, impaired judgment, and difficulties with language. Alzheimer’s disease can fall under dementia and is one specific cause of the said syndrome.

There are different types of dementia and most of them are progressive. This means that the symptoms start or develop slowly, then get worse gradually. When dementia progresses, it can greatly affect the person’s ability to function normally or independently. Early diagnosis and intervention can help a person get the most out of available treatments.

Alzheimer’s

This disease is a type of dementia that impairs a person’s memory, language, thinking, and behavior. Alzheimer’s is due to the deterioration of the brain tissue that affects the ability of the brain cells to function normally. Just like dementia, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s develop slowly and get worse over time. Many people suffering from the disease are 65 and older.

There are different stages of Alzheimer’s and it usually begins with mild memory loss. One of the most common symptoms is difficulty remembering events or newly learned information. When the disease progresses, problems with memory, judgment, communication, and reasoning can become severe. More daily support and assistance from family or caregivers will be necessary.

The treatment for dementia greatly depends on its cause and its type. Alzheimer’s, on the other hand, has no cure, but there are options that can help manage its symptoms. If a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, it is important to plan for their care. It is also beneficial to get the services of home health aide or assisted living facilities.