One of the most frequently asked questions when people contact our home care in Orlando professionals at BrightStar Care is: “What is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s, and why do I need to know the difference?” Dementia is actually an “umbrella” term that includes all of the various symptoms, both mental and physical, which cause varying degrees of interruption in everyday life and the ability to perform routine tasks. Knowing the difference is crucial to the way it is diagnosed and how assistance plans are developed to best suit your aging loved one’s needs.
It’s not unusual at the onset of early dementia to be dismissive of subtle changes that you might notice with regard to short-term memory loss. Let’s face it; everyone forgets what they had for breakfast from time to time; but if it becomes a daily occurrence; you should be discussing it with your loved one and bringing it up with the doctor. Look for signs of withdrawal from activities that were once eagerly anticipated, changes in sleep patterns as depression and anxiety may all be surfacing as your loved one struggle with their awareness of things being not quite right with them but they are afraid to discuss it with anyone for the fear the cause. Changes in personality are subtle at first but can become quite evident as the disease progresses.
There are several diseases that contribute to the development of dementia and among these are Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Creytzfeldt-Jakob disease. Believe it or not, a history of vitamin deficiency or some drug interactions may also cause dementia. Very few cases of early onset Alzheimer’s disease are actually diagnosed. In fact, the confirmation of the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s can really only be made after the individual has passed on as it requires a biopsy of the brain to make a 100% accurate diagnosis.
There have been advances made in the treatment of all of the diseases that fall under the generalized umbrella of dementia, but, unfortunately, there is still no cure. The development of cognitive health programs and drugs that specifically target certain diseases which incorporate the symptoms of generalized dementia are proving to be beneficial in staving off some of the intensification of symptoms from advancing quickly, but again, they are not 100% effective, nor are they a cure.
Once the cause of the dementia is identified, be it Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s etc., specific and suggested protocols will be developed to help assist in maintaining both cognitive and physical health. It can be stressful and hard to implement these strategies as a caregiver to a loved one suffering with dementia. Home care in Orlando with BrightStar Care is the best way to ensure that your loved one is receiving the care needed to maintain cognitive function. We provide dementia and Alzheimer’s care to help you help your loved one. Call us at 407-877-0720 to find out how we can help, or fill out this quick and easy contact form, and we will get in touch with you right away.