Dementia and Alzheimers 101

Dementia and Alzheimer's. Most of the time people get confused with these two terms. Even though they are used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. 

Dementia is a long term condition that is a slow progressive decline. One's memory, thinking, judgment, and ability to learn becomes impaired. Over time this condition becomes worse. Older adults who have dementia usually have trouble conducting regular tasks and will forget events entirely. Some of the symptoms include, forgetfulness, difficulty finding objects and the right wordage, change in emotions, inability to speak, or changes in personality among other things. There is not treatment that can restore the mental functions.

Alzheimer's is the most common diagnosis of dementia. This disease is progressive and there is a loss in mental function that includes memory, language, and thought. Some symptoms include, issues remembering conversations or where items have been placed, difficulty responding to simple problems, becoming lost, losing attention, and not as responsive. There is no cure for this disease but it can be managed by medication, lifestyle changes (diet and exercise), intellectual stimulation, social interactions, support groups, improving memory, and delaying the onset.  

There are 3 stages of Alzheimer's and signs and symptoms become more severe with each stage and eventually death will occur. 

There are many ways someone can support a senior with this condition. This includes taking measures such as maintaining a safe and calm environment, making the senior feel secure and providing ongoing and increasing support with their activities of daily living.

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