Do you know the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s?

Do you know the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s?

One leads to the other, and understanding both is crucial to helping those coping with them

“October is a symphony of permanence and change.”

Bonaro W. Overstreet

Recently I’ve been thinking about the changes in our lives, in the seasons, in our lifestyles, in our environment, in our health; thinking about aging, hearing loss, memory loss, and so on, in seniors especially. I realized that although I’ve heard the terms dementia and Alzheimer’s, I didn’t really know their definitions, so I looked it up online. Are you curious too?

The Alzheimer’s Association had this to say under the heading “Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s Disease : What is the Difference?”

“Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60–80 per cent of dementia cases. Alzheimer’s is a specific disease. Dementia is not.

“Dementia describes a group of symptoms associated with a decline in memory, reasoning, or other thinking skills. Many different types of dementia exist and many conditions cause it. Mixed dementia is a condition in which brain changes of more than one type of disease occur at the same time. Dementia is not a normal part of aging. It is caused by damage to brain cells that affects their ability to communicate, which can affect thinking, behaviour, and feelings.

“Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease that is caused by complex brain changes following cell damage. It leads to dementia symptoms that gradually worsen over time. The most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s is trouble remembering new information because the disease typically impacts the part of the brain associated with learning first. As Alzheimer’s advances, symptoms get more severe and include disorientation, confusion, and behaviour changes. Eventually, speaking, swallowing, and walking become difficult. There is no way to prevent, cure, or even slow Alzheimer’s down. Though the greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s is increasing age, the disease is not a normal part of aging.”

It was revealing to me that one causes the other. Alzheimer’s is the disease that leads to dementia.

I have a calendar with the most thought-provoking quotations from people living with dementia and also from their caregivers, who suggest that those living with the disease make connection with a support group that will help them feel less alone in dealing with their situation. Volunteering with an Alzheimer’s support group in the community can change perceptions and develop an awareness of the ever increasing need for care for this disease.

Caregivers stress that people with Alzheimer’s and dementia must be treated with respect and understanding and patience. They still have feelings. Smiles and hugs, laughter and love are of prime importance. Communication takes on a whole new meaning.

People living with dementia want what everybody else wants: a long life well-lived. Dementia is not the end of their life. It is the beginning of a change in the way they cope with the world and their life in it. There’s no reason to be ashamed about having dementia. By being open and honest about it they may create an awareness in others who don’t understand dementia. Maybe they’ll be seen as just people who need a little help sometimes.

Dementia has no boundaries. It can impact any person, culture, or any age at any time, and it will impact your entire family and your friends.

Speaking about communication, I’ll share this with you. What must surely be one of the most frustrating conversations in history was reported in Theatre Arts magazine. A subscriber, desiring to report on a particular upcoming event in his community, dialed “Information” to get the magazine’s telephone number.

The operator drawled, “Sorry, but there is nobody listed by the name of ‘Theodore Arts’.”

The subscriber insisted “It’s not a person; it’s a publication. I want Theatre Arts.”

The operator responded, this time a little louder. “I told you, we have no listing for Theodore Arts in this city. Perhaps he lives in another city.”

By now the subscriber was thoroughly peeved. “Confound it, the word is theatre: T-H-E-A-T-R-E!”

The operator came back with certainty in her voice. “That is not the way to spell Theodore.”

Sometimes there’s just no communicating with someone who refuses to hear you, who seems unwilling to understand your point of view, or who simply “doesn’t get” what you are trying to say.

By now you will have noticed the activity on the former school site. At long last it appears the supportive housing/care facility will be a reality. Hooray!

No activities and no meetings for seniors. Stay well and safe.

Happy Birthday greetings to Christine Stella (Oct. 13), Terry Tucker (Oct. 23), and Katherine Turmel (Oct. 29).

“The years ahead are ours to win and cherish. We cannot let anything, least of all our age, stand in our way.”

Tina Sloane

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Aerial view of a wildfire at 16 Mile, 11 kilometres northwest of Cache Creek, that started on the afternoon of June 15. (Photo credit: BC Wildfire Service)
Wildfire at 16 Mile now being held

Wildfire started on the afternoon of June 15 at 16 Mile, east of Highway 97

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Most Read