One question that often pops up in Alzheimer’s support groups involves the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s. One doctor explained it like this. If you look at the animal kingdom, you have mammals. You have dogs. You have yellow labs, beagles, chihuahuas, and many others. Dogs start with the class (mammal) and branches from there into more specific categories.
Dementia is a type of disease that affects the brain. Alzheimer’s is one of those many diseases. Dementia is just a broad term that covers all forms of brain diseases including Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia. It’s not the only one, but it is the most common. That’s why you find people using the two terms as though they’re the same thing.
How Many Types of Dementia Are There?
Some forms of dementia are reversible. Dementia linked to Lyme disease is one of them. Most dementia forms are chronic and have no cure. Medications can slow the symptoms, but it can’t stop them. The most common chronic forms are Alzheimer’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob, frontotemporal, Lewy bodies, mild cognitive impairment, Parkinson’s, and vascular.
It’s estimated by the World Health Organization that there are 50 million people throughout the world who have one of the forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is often the disease most closely associated with dementia because it accounts for as many as 7 out of 10 cases of dementia.
Vascular dementia makes up another 20 percent of dementia cases. People with high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and vascular disease have a higher risk. It’s caused by decreased blood flow to the brain and often follows mini-strokes.
What if Your Parent is Diagnosed With Alzheimer’s or Another Type of Dementia?
As dementia progresses, help with daily activities of living becomes necessary. A person with dementia may find it hard to get dressed properly. You may find the person picking different colored socks, grabbing a heavy sweater on a hot, humid day or going outside without a jacket in below zero weather.
You need to make sure someone is available to offer care. For some families, this means quitting a job or cutting back hours. For others, it can mean hiring a caregiver. Talk to your parents and your siblings to see what is best for your family.
Elderly care services are important. If you decided to become a family caregiver, don’t discount the need to have a professional’s help from time to time. Respite care is one of those times when you’ll need help. Call an elderly care agency to discuss respite care and other helpful dementia care options.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Perth Amboy, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care of New Brunswick today. Call (732) 607-8870.
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