Dementia vs Alzheimer’s

Dementia vs Alzheimer’s:
What is the Difference?

Oct 30th 2018
3 minutes reading

People often ask ‘what is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s?’
The difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s can seem obscure. It is easy to confuse the two terms, and while we all know someone affected, not many of us understand them clearly. We will have a look at the differences and explain how Carefolk helps those with the conditions, and those caring for people living with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

What is dementia?

The term ‘dementia’ is derived from the Latin words ‘de’ and ‘mens’, meaning ‘missing spirit’. Thereby dementia describes a wide range of symptoms concerning the loss of mental skills. It is more of an umbrella term for plenty of diseases like Huntington’s, Vascular and, most common, Alzheimer’s. Dementia is likely to develop with aging, appearing when brain cells are damaged.

Symptoms and stages of dementia

In the first stages, dementia may evolve slowly. It often begins with mild symptoms, like simple incidents of forgetfulness. People lose their sense of time and tend to become confused in familiar environments. Early signs of dementia include repetitious questioning and poor decision-making.

With times, these symptoms will grow. Moreover, people living with dementia begin to have trouble with recognizing faces and names and personal care as well as an inadequate hygiene.

In advanced stages of dementia, the patient becomes completely unable to care for him/herself and has huge problems with remembering people and familiar settings. Signs of depression and aggression may arise as well.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease is the common and most well-known form of dementia. It is responsible for about 50 to 70 percent of all cases of dementia. The disease is a special form of dementia that slowly causes impairing memories and speech as well as confusion.

The effects on the brain

Damage to the brain arises years before symptoms are observable. Connections between cells are lost because protein deposits form plaques and tangle in the brain. Cells begin to die. In advanced stages, the brain may shrink by up to 20%.

Symptoms and signs of Alzheimer’s

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s generally begin after the age of 60, even though for younger people it is not impossible to get Alzheimer’s earlier. Apart from typical symptoms of dementia such as a declining memory, communication impairment and poor judgment skills, there are some other signs when living with Alzheimer’s, especially in advanced stages: Patients tend to have problems recognizing family and friends, difficulties carrying out multi-step tasks, such as getting dressed.

In the most advanced stage, called severe Alzheimer’s disease, people may stay in bed as the body shuts down. They even have problems with swallowing and forget how to eat.

What is the difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Dementia is the umbrella term that includes different cognitive diseases, including Alzheimer’s. It includes overall symptoms that impact memory, communication abilities as well as performance of daily activities. In contrast, Alzheimer’s disease describes a special type of dementia and is a detected disease, even though an accurate diagnosis can only be confirmed after death during an autopsy.

Furthermore, Alzheimer’s is not a reversible disease as it is degenerative and incurable yet. For some types of dementia there are drug treatments that may improve symptoms temporarily. In addition, treating the condition that causes dementia may help as well.

Alzheimer’s treatment

While a cure is not yet available, there are options to manage the disease’s symptoms: Medications for behavioral changes (antipsychotics), memory loss (Aricept) and depression help patients. Furthermore, innovations and studies continue to be made that bring hope for future breakthroughs in tackling the disease. In one such example, Scientists in Waterford Ireland have discovered a nutritional supplement combination that shows down Alzheimer’s disease.

However, every good approach to treat any type of dementia requires engagement, communication and, most of all, loving care. It is very important to be understanding of the individual’s condition and rather than getting frustrated and trying to persuade them of reality, instead go with the flow and be patient and caring with them.

How Carefolk can help

Carefolk Family

If you or one of your family members lives with dementia or Alzheimer’s, Carefolk provides tools and supports to help you. Carefolk provides a private care hub including digital care planner, scheduling and reminders as well as medicine management and a lot more. In addition, you can connect with other caregivers, share care tips or follow support organizations for info and help.

For more information, take a look at our website: