At Champion Home Health Care, our goal is to provide the best possible care for aging seniors and people recovering from an illness or surgery. We are here for anyone that needs a helping hand, all in the comfort of their own home. We provide our home healthcare services primarily to the elderly population, and understandably so! After all, as people grow older, their mental and physical agility tends to deteriorate. Many of our patients suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Though these have similarities and overlap in a sense, they are not the same. Today, we’d like to go over the differences between dementia and Alzheimer’s.
While Alzheimer’s is classified as a disease, dementia refers to symptoms and is not a disease, but a syndrome. Dementia is a group of symptoms that affect the mind negatively. Some signs of dementia are memory loss, confusion, cognitive impairment, forgetfulness, poor judgment, and repetitive questioning.
Dementia can start out slowly and oftentimes it’s confused with the natural progression of age. For instance, a senior forgetting an appointment or getting confused about the day of the week can easily be chalked up to having a normal “brain blip.” Hey, it happens to all of us! But, if these instances start happening more frequently or if you notice other uncharacteristic behavior, this could signal that something is amiss. While dementia is more common in the older population, it is not a “normal” or expected part of aging.
Generally speaking, dementia isn’t reversible, but it usually is treatable depending on what the underlying cause is. There are numerous causes of dementia including Parkinson’s disease, Hutchinson’s disease, stroke, and infections. But, one of the most common causes of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.
Unlike dementia, Alzheimer’s is a disease, though dementia can be a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s progressively gets worse over time and affects the brain, causing memory impairment and loss of cognitive function. Usually, the onset happens in people over the age of 60, although it can affect younger people in some cases. What happens is this: protein deposits form in the brain and cut off connections between brain cells, causing the cells to eventually die. Approximately 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s according to the National Institute of Health. Although Alzheimer’s disease isn’t curable, thankfully there are treatments available to help alleviate some of the symptoms.
People suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s share certain symptoms like memory loss and communication issues. However, since dementia can be caused by numerous things, the symptoms will vary. Some people with dementia might experience hallucinations, depression, difficulty speaking, lack of balance, and behavioral changes. Others could experience an entirely different set of symptoms. The severeness of the symptoms can vary with both illnesses. Navigating the waters of dementia or Alzheimer’s, whether it is affecting you or a loved one, can be difficult. But, with the right diagnosis, medical treatment, and a great support system, the symptoms can usually be well-managed.
Champion Home Health Care has offices in North Palm Beach and South Palm Beach. We want you to know that we’re here for you and your senior loved ones. We have resources to help individuals and families dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Our team of caregivers and nurses are trained and experienced with these illnesses; they know how to properly treat those who suffer from them. If you or your elderly family member are in the Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach areas and could benefit from home care assistance, please contact us today.