There are significant differences between dementia and Alzheimer’s, but both impact a large number of seniors each year. Therefore, aging adults and their caregivers should learn as much as possible about both age-related conditions to develop prevention strategies. Below are some of the most common questions about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
What’s the Difference between the Two?
Dementia is a group of symptoms that affect the working memory, while Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease of the brain that impacts memory and cognitive function. There are multiple types of dementia, and seniors can have more than one. Alzheimer’s is mainly due to gradual protein buildup and cell loss that shrinks the brain, which is why many seniors live with the disease for years without knowing they have it.
Do All Seniors Develop These Conditions?
Alzheimer’s and dementia aren’t standard parts of aging. However, both affect a large number of aging adults. Your loved one should have testing done to determine if he or she has the genes that have been linked to each condition. Keep in mind while age, genetics, and lifestyle are factors that may increase the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s, there’s no guarantee your loved one will develop either disorder.
If your loved one is living with cognitive impairment resulting from dementia, help is just a phone call away. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Toronto Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
What Are Some of the Symptoms?
Dementia is a syndrome, not a disease, and it’s characterized by a variety of symptoms. Although a few dementia and Alzheimer’s symptoms can overlap (such as poor thinking skills and memory impairment), there are differences. For example, your loved one could have difficulty eating and talking or experience depression and behavioral problems if he or she has developed Alzheimer’s, but the signs of dementia are more often linked to decision-making and memory.
If your loved one has difficulty remembering familiar people and objects, take him or her to the doctor immediately. Only a physician can diagnose these health issues, so you should never assume your loved one has dementia or Alzheimer’s without a medical diagnosis.
Seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s often need help to be able to live at home safely. Families looking for top-rated elder care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.
Are They Curable?
Although there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s, there are treatment strategies to slow the progression of the condition and manage the symptoms. Some types of dementia are reversible, but most aren’t, and the symptoms worsen over time. Physicians generally prescribe medication to boost quality of life. The drug treatment will depend on the condition and its current stage. To treat dementia and Alzheimer’s, doctors often prescribe cognition-enhancing medications, including cholinesterase inhibitors such as memantine.
How Can My Loved One Handle Either Condition?
When caring for loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s, family caregivers need to promote stimulating activities and a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating nutritious meals, getting regular exercise, socializing with others, taking up brain-boosting hobbies, and getting plenty of sleep. Adults who take up bad habits like smoking or drinking alcohol could see their symptoms progress much more rapidly than those who lead active, healthy lives in their senior years. Life expectancy for aging adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s is typically between four and eight years after diagnosis. However, some seniors live 20 years or more after being diagnosed.
Even when families have the best intentions, caring for a senior loved one with dementia can be challenging. Fortunately, Home Care Assistance is here to help. We are a leading provider of dementia care. Toronto families can take advantage of our flexible and customizable care plans, and our caregivers always stay up to date on the latest developments in senior care. Schedule a free in-home consultation by giving us a call today at (416) 488-8777.