Among the many questions I typically field in the world of senior care, the confusion between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia ranks at the top. Many times, we tend to use these words synonymously but they are not the same thing. Dementia is a general term used to describe a decline in memory that affects a person’s daily living. Dementia is an umbrella term with multiple diseases that fall under it. Alzheimer’s (pronunciation here) is one of these diseases and is the most common type of dementia.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s causes problems with memory, cognition, and behavior. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s usually develop slowly and become worse over time, eventually interfering with daily tasks of living. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of dementia cases (alz.org).
Contrary to popular belief, dementia and memory loss is not a “normal” part of aging and not all memory loss is tied to dementia. If you or your loved one is experiencing memory issues, schedule an appointment with your physician for a screening. Many times, patients will put off seeing a physician about memory issues, fearing the worst possible scenario. But an evaluation from your physician may detect a treatable condition that is not related to dementia. Even if your symptoms suggest dementia, early diagnosis is key to benefit from available treatments.
A quick Google search will inundate you with resources and information about Alzheimer’s Disease, but here are a few good ones:
National Institute on Aging
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America
Local Alzheimer’s Association Chapter
Locally in Alexander City, Russell Medical Center Auxiliary hosts a dementia support group each month for family and caregivers touched by dementia related illnesses. The Emily Gilbert Dementia Support Group meets the 2nd Monday of each month at RMC. Call 256-329-7177 for more information.
If you know of other great resources please comment below and share them with us!