September 3, 2014
The difference between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia is confusing for many people. Often, it is assumed that they are just two different words for the same condition. However, that’s not quite the case. In short, Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia, but not all dementia is Alzheimer’s. But does making a distinction between the two even matter?
Yes and no, according to Paula Spencer Scott, author of Surviving Alzheimer’s: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers, in a Huffington Post article. Recently, the diagnostic term “dementia” officially changed to “major neurocognitive disorder,” which may not mean much to the general public and may actually confuse the issue. Scott advises families not to get hung up on the exact name of what your loved one has as care needs are likely to remain the same, regardless of whether it’s Alzheimer’s or dementia. She does urge families, however, to find out what is behind the name of the diagnosis, including symptoms and changes to expect, and to find out what to do about the diagnosis in terms of a care plan.
Read Scott’s article to learn more about the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia and what it means for your family.