Alzheimer's vs. Dementia

Posted by Debra A. Ross, MAOM CDP CALD | Feb 18, 2022

One of the most frequently asked question I receive is “What's the difference between Alzheimer's and Dementia?” These are possibly the most confusing terms to understand.  Here is a simple way to distinguish between the two terms.   

DEMENTIA is an umbrella term that symbolizes abnormal function of the brain – enough noticeable changes that affect normal daily functions like using the microwave; following a favorite recipe, making change with dollars and coins, remembering and keeping appointments.   Simply put… changes in your ability to do what you've always been able to do without much forethought.  Yes, there are normal age-related changes that present challenges in recalling information such as “where did I put my glasses” or “what did I come in here for?” including slower reaction time, changes in vision and hearing and our favorite – sleep patterns.

ALZHEIMER'S is the name of a brain disease which defines WHY the brain is functioning abnormally.  A person may be diagnosed with “Dementia of the Alzheimer's type”.  Alzheimer's disease is typically the most commonly diagnosed type of dementia (approximately 80 %); however, there are over 60+ distinct types of dementia that may be affecting the brain.

The most important take-away from all of this is DEMENTIA-RELATED BRAIN DISEASES ARE NOT PART OF NORMAL AGING.  We may experience hearing loss, dimming vision, loss of car keys and glasses; we are not supposed to lose our brain matter.    

Learn what we all can start doing right NOW to maintain a healthy brain! Check out the link below from the Alzheimer's Association -  10 Ways to Love your Brain - Growing evidence indicates that people can reduce their risk of cognitive decline by adopting key lifestyle habits. When possible, combine these habits to achieve maximum benefit for the brain and body. Start now. It's never too late or too early to incorporate healthy habits.

RESOURCES: https://www.alz.org/help-support/brain_health/10_ways_to_love_your_brain

About the Author

Debra A. Ross, MAOM CDP CALD

GERIATRIC CARE ADVISOR | When a loved one shows signs of dementia, you want Debby on your team to help create a greater understanding of the dynamics of dementia related diseases. Her compassion and expertise is unparalleled. A Certified Dementia Practitioner, former Licensed Nursing Home Administrator, Certified Assisted Living Director and trainer, an Alzheimer's Association Community Educator – and the list goes on and on. She's a featured speaker at hospitals and universities plus has appeared on TV and radio promoting geriatric and dementia education.

Never doubt that a group of thoughtful people can be called to action and provide a change in the continuum of care.

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