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Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s

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Contrary to popular belief, Dementia and Alzheimer’s are not the same. Dementia is an overall term used to describe the symptoms that impact memory, communication abilities, and performance of daily activities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Younger people can develop dementia and Alzheimer’s, but risk does increase with age. Symptoms of the two can be hard to distinguish between due to the similarity of symptoms.  With that being said there are differences between the two. If someone has Alzheimer’s disease then they have dementia, but not everyone with dementia has Alzheimer’s. 


Dementia 

Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning-thinking, remembering and reasoning. Dementia will interfere with a person’s daily life and activities. Functions that can be impaired through dementia include: memory, visual perception, problem solving, language skills, self-management, and the ability to focus and pay attention. While dementia is more common in older individuals, it is not a normal part of aging. Up to half of all people age 85 or older may have some form of dementia, or loss of cognitive function. 

Signs and Symptoms of Dementia

Dementia symptoms result when once-healthy neurons in the brain stop working, leading to loss and poor connection with other brain cells. People with dementia experience a greater loss of neurons than the average aging person. As dementia progresses, forgetfulness and confusion become more abundant. Daily task such as remembering names and faces becomes difficult for an individual suffering from this disease. Dementia symptoms and signs will vary from person to person. Not everyone will experience it in the same way. 


Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease of the brain that slowly causes impairment in memory and cognitive function. Alzheimer’s is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. Eventually, Alzheimer’s destroys the ability to carry out normal simple day-to-day task. Early-onset Alzheimer’s, which is not common, occurs between an individual’s 30s and mid-60s. Late-onset Alzheimer’s is more common and occur around ones mid-60s. It’s estimated that as many as 5.5 million Americans age 65 and older may have Alzheimer’s. Although people under age 65 also suffer from the disease. If Alzheimer’s can be treated correctly or prevented, the number of people with it will increase significantly if current population trends continue. 

Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

Early signs of Alzheimer’s include memory loss, confusion on time and place, misplacing things, poor judgment, change in mood, and many more. Memory loss is one of the biggest things this disease takes away. This will be especially common during the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Forgetting dates, faces, events, and even asking the same question over and over are common signs and symptoms. Going along with memory loss, solving, and planning normal day to day activities will soon become very difficult. A normal task such as following a recipe can become hard and daunting for many. When it comes to a point such as that many suggest hiring an extra hand to help. Your loved ones do not need to face this disease alone and will soon need help in their daily lives. Gracepoint homecare offers a helping hand in any and all needs for your loved ones. From doing their grocery shopping to staying at their house and keeping them company. 


What to Do Once Diagnosed

  • Make a plan- Once diagnosed you will need to research the different types of dementia and understand what and how to handle your life or a loved one who has been diagnosed. Think about what you want your life to look like. This can be a very scary to face alone. Plan out how you want to tackle this disease and who will be there to help you along the way. 
  • Get your team together- Sit your loved ones down and explain how you want to handle the diagnoses. Let them know how you feel daily and what you would want them to do moving forward. Having a team by your side during times like this is extremely important, not only for them but for you also. Keeping a close relationship with your team will help lead you though this new journey. 
  • Make connections with others diagnosed– Going along with building a support team you should try and find others near you with the same diagnosis. Having people with the same disease who understand what you are going through could be very beneficial. Having people around who care and understand the struggles of your day to day life will only make you stronger.