Alzheimer’s vs Dementia: What’s the Difference

Dementia is the term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life.

Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia.

Alzheimer’s is a specific disease. Dementia is not a disease.

What's the difference between alzheimer's and dementia

What is Dementia

Dementia represents symptoms associated with a decline in memory, reasoning or other thinking skills. There are many types of dementia and many factors lead to its cause. Mixed dementia is a condition in which brain changes of more than one type of dementia occur at the same time.

Dementia is not a normal part of aging.

It is caused by damage to brain cells that affects their ability to communicate, which can affect thinking, behavior and feelings.

A disorder grouped as dementia is caused by abnormal brain changes; these changes cause a decline in thinking skills severe enough to interfere with your daily life and independence. These changes also affect your behaviors, feelings and relationships.

Before dementia was understood as it is now, which still isn’t very good, is was considered a normal aging process and referred to as senile. Dementia is NOT a normal aging process, so if you notice any signs and symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately.

Signs of dementia can vary greatly. Examples include:

  • Problems with short-term memory.
  • Keeping track of a purse or wallet.
  • Paying bills.
  • Planning and preparing meals.
  • Remembering appointments.
  • Traveling out of the neighborhood.

Many conditions start out slowly and gradually get worse. If you do find yourself at the point of having to place your loved one in a memory care facility please don’t hesitate to give us a call. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing memory difficulties or other changes in thinking skills, don’t ignore them!

Early detection is key!

Explaining Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of dementia cases.

Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease that is caused by complex brain changes following cell damage.

It leads to dementia symptoms that gradually worsen over time.

The most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s is trouble remembering new information because the disease usually targets the part of the brain related to learning first.

As Alzheimer’s advances, symptoms get more severe and include disorientation, confusion and behavior changes. Eventually, speaking, swallowing and walking become difficult.

Though the greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s is aging, the disease is not a normal part of getting older. And although most people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older, younger-onset Alzheimer’s has become more prevalent with approximately 200,000 Americans under 65 years-old suffering.

Signs of Alzheimer’s disease are:

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • Confusion with time or place
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
  • New problems with words in speaking or writing
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work or social activities
  • Changes in mood and personality

If you notice any of the symptoms in yourself or someone you know, PLEASE seek the help of a medical professional!! Early detection is the KEY!!

If you are caring for someone suffering with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, we hold 3 caregiver support groups a month. Please don’t go it alone, we are here for you!!

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