Dementia and Alzheimer’s – What’s the Difference?

Dementia and Alzheimer’s are probably terms we’ve all heard of, but do we really understand what the difference between the two is?  Read on to learn more and find out more about Dementia and Alzheimer’s.

What is Dementia?

We will start with what Dementia is not.  Dementia is not a single disease, it is caused by different brain diseases that damage nerve cells in the brain. The most common causes of dementia are;

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Vascular dementia

Most cases of dementia are progressive meaning the symptoms get worse with time.  How dementia affects a person can vary from one individual to the next, so each person and family can experience it differently.

Symptoms of Dementia

Early symptoms of dementia can be subtle and feel like the normal process of ageing such as memory loss.  With dementia, it is more than forgetfulness.  We all tend to lose our keys and forget names but as dementia progresses people affected can start to struggle with everyday tasks and eventually have difficulty recognizing people or getting dressed.

Symptoms include;

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulties with problem solving
  • Struggles with everyday tasks
  • Changes in mood and behaviour.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is actually the most common type of dementia.  Alzheimer’s tends to present itself in the early stages as common forgetfulness which is part of the normal ageing process.  Symptoms gradually develop over a period of years getting more severe. It can be identified by a progressive build-up of abnormal clumps of protein in the brain that have caused damage to the nerve cells.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can include;

  • Confusion
  • Poor judgements or finding it hard to make decisions
  • Changes in mood and behaviour
  • Repetitive questions

As the condition worsens people can also begin to experience problems with speech, disorientation and difficulties with eating/swallowing.

Care and Support

Firstly it’s important to contact a GP if you are concerned about a person who you think may have dementia or memory loss problems.  A GP can carry out simple tasks to identify any problem areas and can refer anyone to a specialist who they feel may need it.

Any kind of dementia diagnosis can be extremely upsetting but an early diagnosis can help you towards finding/providing the right care and support.  It can be extremely challenging so there are a lot of support groups out there which can help;

Our nursing homes at Trinity Care all provide individualised, professional dementia care, for long-term residential care and respite services.  If you have any questions or would like to talk with us more regarding an assessment or to visit any of our homes please don’t hesitate to contact us

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