While dementia and Alzheimer’s have significant overlap, the words aren’t interchangeable. In fact, Alzheimer’s is merely one type of dementia among many. Ahead, learn about the differences between dementia and Alzheimer’s.
What Is Dementia?
The term “dementia” doesn’t refer to a specific disorder. Instead, it refers to a group of disorders that share similar symptoms. Dementia is technically a syndrome characterized by a pattern of symptoms and behaviors but lacking a specific diagnosis. Traditionally, the disorders that fall under the umbrella of “dementia” impact communication skills, memory, and decision-making abilities.
Make sure to have your loved one see the doctor if you notice possible signs of dementia. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care Boynton Beach, FL, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by many of the same symptoms as dementia. This progressive disease leads to wide-scale cognitive impairment, impacting everything from the capacity to make and store new memories to the ability to process sequential information. Alzheimer’s primarily affects people aged 60 and over, though younger people can develop the disease. Experts have not yet determined the cause or the cure of the disorder.
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What Are the Other Types of Dementia?
While Alzheimer’s accounts for more than 50 percent of dementia cases, it’s by no means the only type. Seniors in the later stages of Parkinson’s disease often develop dementia caused by the condition’s cumulative impact on the brain. This type of dementia usually manifests as visual processing issues, judgment problems, and hallucinations. Seniors with poor cardiovascular health may develop vascular dementia, which is caused by inadequate blood flow to the brain. Often caused by strokes and other cardiovascular events, this form of dementia is often accompanied by disorientation, poor concentration, and impaired vision.
When younger people develop dementia, it’s often frontotemporal dementia, which impacts the parts of the brain that regulate language and behavior. This disorder, which is sometimes called Pick’s disease, can impact motivation, inhibitions, and speech. People with Pick’s disease may develop compulsive behavior patterns, oftentimes oriented around artistic expression. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is often categorized as a form of dementia, and it impacts the ability to remember things, develop new skills, and process information. This disorder usually develops due to a vitamin B deficiency, which is most commonly caused by persistent alcoholism.
Are These Conditions Irreversible?
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disorder, which means it will continue to get worse over time. There are treatment methods that may slow the progression of the disease, but currently there are no treatments capable of reversing the effects of Alzheimer’s. This is true of most other types of dementia as well, but there are a few exceptions to the rule. For example, the symptoms of Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome can be reversed if the vitamin deficiency that caused the disorder is rectified.
What Treatments Are Available?
For any senior diagnosed with dementia, the prescribed treatment plan will be unique to the individual’s condition and needs. Nonetheless, the most common prescription treatments for Alzheimer’s reduce symptoms such as behavioral changes, memory loss, sleep alterations, and depression. For other types of dementia, treatment plans may target the underlying condition rather than the dementia symptoms.
If your loved one has dementia or Alzheimer’s, compassionate professional in-home care is available. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Boynton Beach Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner when your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging. Call us today at (561) 740-6256 to learn about our high-quality home care services.