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Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s Disease: What’s the Difference?

Are dementia and Alzheimer’s disease the same thing? Can an older adult have both conditions or just one? The topic of memory loss is often confusing, especially for those thrust into a new and unexpected family caregiver role. In fact, according to a 2020 study, there are 9.5 million family caregivers in America, representing an increasing demand with the rise of the aging population. Below is an in-depth breakdown of each condition detailing the symptoms, causes, and available treatments.

Dementia Definition and Symptoms

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Dementia is an umbrella term categorizing various brain disorders, making it difficult for an individual to perform activities of daily living. The term dementia includes numerous conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, Vascular dementia, and Fronto Temporal dementia, among others. Symptoms include memory loss, poor judgment, changes in language and behavior, and inadequate problem-solving skills.

Alzheimer’s Definition and Symptoms

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Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that slowly deteriorates memory and cognitive thinking skills. Alzheimer's disease causes certain parts of the brain to shrink over time. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include memory loss, wandering, losing track of time, violent outbursts, and inability to perform activities of daily living.

Causes of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia is considered an age-related condition because it’s more likely to occur in seniors than in younger demographics. The causes of dementia vary because it’s an umbrella term covering numerous brain conditions, not just one specific disease or illness. Nonetheless, all causes of dementia are either age-related, genetic-predisposed, a result of traumatic brain injury, or substance abuse. 

Like other forms of dementia, medical professionals are not sure what specifically causes Alzheimer’s disease. We know that most Alzheimer’s patients are over 65 years old, and the chances increase the older you get. Common causes outside of age-related changes include family history, lifestyle factors, head trauma, hypertension, diabetes, and environmental trauma.

Available Treatments

There is no cure for both Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Instead, physicians and healthcare professionals focus on managing symptoms to mitigate degeneration and improve lifestyle. Since dementia can result from several different conditions, some of the treatments differ. Overlapping treatments for dementia and Alzheimer’s include Antipsychotic medications, antidepressants, and sleep medications.

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How Home Care Can Help Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients

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Home care is vital in helping seniors live with Alzheimer’s and dementia by providing a safe environment to receive the necessary care and support. Depending on the severity of the symptom, home care can assist with the following:

At Home Care of Louisiana Specializes in Assisting With Alzhiemer's & Dementia

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Our team of caregivers is trained in the nuances of caring for progressive brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson's, and other forms of dementia. We have years of experience identifying and managing cognitive, behavioral, and physical symptoms of these degenerative conditions. Locally owned and operated, we cover the greater Baton Rouge metro area, covering towns such as Denham Springs, Zachary, Prairieville, Gonzales, Central, etc. Please contact us today for a free home care assessment in the comfort of your home.

We look forward to meeting you and being an extension of your caregiving team.