How Is Alzheimer’s Different from Dementia?

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While dementia and Alzheimer’s have significant overlap, they aren’t synonymous. In fact, Alzheimer’s is only one of the many types of dementia. 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. Typically, 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 Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of at-home care 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, although younger people can develop the disease. Experts haven’t yet determined the cause of the disorder or a cure for it.

If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, help is just a phone call away. For reliable Alzheimer’s care, Potomac families can turn to Assisting Hands Home Care. We are a leading provider of professional memory care designed to help seniors maintain a higher quality of life. In addition to Alzheimer’s care, we also provide comprehensive dementia, Parkinson’s, and stroke care. 

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 that are often 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 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 there are currently 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 in addition to the symptoms. 

If your loved one has dementia or Alzheimer’s, compassionate professional in-home care is available. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide home care. Potomac families can turn to Assisting Hands Home Care for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties. Call Assisting Hands Home Care at (301) 363-2580 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.