If you are caring for a senior loved one or even just planning ahead for your own future care needs in retirement, you have probably encountered questions about cognitive changes that come with aging, up to and including dementia and Alzheimer’s.
With the advocacy of the well-known nonprofit Alzheimer’s Association, and the fact that each June brings Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month in the United States, it’s true that many people believe that Alzheimer’s is an interchangeable name for dementia. In other words, anytime someone is diagnosed with dementia it automatically means Alzheimer’s. However, this not the case.
The two terms refer to potentially different health concerns with Alzheimer’s being the name of a specific degenerative brain disease and “dementia” being a more general term that’s often used to describe symptoms of various diseases and disorders (including Alzheimer’s).
It’s true that the differences can be very confusing, and that confusion can lead to unnecessary worry and stress. That’s why we’re taking a closer look at how Alzheimer’s differs from other forms of dementia and how cognitive changes of all types can affect patients’ families and caregivers. The good news is that there are more resources for help with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, or dementia more generally, than ever before. (more…)