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Alzheimer’s vs Dementia Care

The moment your loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, your mind is flooded with questions. What is the disease all about? How long will your family member have to live? And are these two terms the same? If not, what is the difference? Here are the answers to your most pressing questions. Hopefully, they will provide you with some clarity as you brave this challenging time in you and your loved one’s life.

Is Alzheimer’s the same thing as dementia?

People often think in terms of Alzheimer’s vs dementia, wondering what the difference is. The easiest way to answer this is to think of dementia like a fever and Alzheimer’s like the flu. Yes, someone with the flu may have a fever, but just because they have a fever, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have the flu. In other words, Alzheimer’s is the disease, and dementia is a symptom. That being said, Alzheimer’s is the cause of as many as 80% of dementia cases (other origins include stroke, drug abuse, and depression).

Which one is worse?

If you ask nurses and loved ones of those with both, they would probably say that dementia is the worst of Alzheimer’s symptoms. When people are first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, they are probably only experiencing mild cognitive disabilities and slight memory loss. However, as the disease continues, dementia signs begin to make an appearance. This is when the patient begins to lose their short-term memory, and eventually forgets who their family members even are. They tend to live in a childlike state, requiring around-the-clock care.

Is Alzheimer’s the same for everyone?

When your loved one is diagnosed with the disease, you cannot predict what their experience will be like based off anybody else’s. Sure, a lot of Alzheimer’s signs can be similar, but no two people will go down the same path the exact same way. While your family member may only show a lack of judgment and slight memory loss, another person living with the condition may have trouble walking around or even talking.

What about dementia?

Since dementia is not an actual disease, it will often present itself in a similar way for different patients. But keep in mind that dementia symptoms are also progressive, so much depends on how long the person has been living with it. Most cases will begin with forgetting simple things or having trouble with time. Later, the patient will have a hard time recognizing people and places as they go in and out of periods of confusion. Finally, they will no longer be able to care for themselves.

Is there a cure for either?

Remember, not all dementia is a result of Alzheimer’s. If this is the case, people have been known to find relief by combating the original cause. Unfortunately, at this time there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or the dementia that results from it. That being said, your loved one can still have a pleasant life. With the proper Alzheimer’s help, the disease can be somewhat controlled by medications and therapy programs. People have lived for ten years or more after receiving a diagnosis.

Finding out a family member has a non-curable condition can be very scary. It is important to know that there is a lot of Alzheimer’s and dementia help out there. It will not always be easy, and you will certainly wish there was a cure, but with the right attitude and treatment options, the remainder of your loved one’s life can be very enjoyable.