Dementia V Alzheimer's - Is there a difference?

Caregivers at Bluebird Care (Bradford North) are trained to support people both with dementia and with Alzheimer's and I'm often asked by them what the difference is?

Caregivers can thrive in their roles and the way they support our customers if they have the understanding of how to work with customers who have dementia and how this can affect them in their daily work.

As part of their induction training caregivers are taught the following basics before moving on to more specific training.

Caregivers are taught that dementia is an impairment of thinking and memory that interferes with a person's ability to do things which they were previously was able to do and that dementia is an umbrella term that refers to a group of physical and mental symptoms that are severe enough to interfere with a person's daily functions. 

The symptoms can be caused by various diseases or disorders, such as language difficulty, memory loss, poor judgment, confusion and changes in personality and mood. People with dementia may also lose their ability to solve problems or control their emotions. Other symptoms may include difficulty with coordination and motor functions, paranoia, agitation, hallucinations and withdrawal from work or social activities.

Alzheimer's disease is the common cause of dementia, and is particularly common in older people.  Because it is the most common cause of dementia, Alzheimer's disease is commonly equated with the general term dementia. Alzheimer's symptoms include getting lost, asking repetitive questions, experiencing difficulty handling money and paying bills, having poor decision-making skills, frequently misplacing items and undergoing personality changes. Those with 

Alzheimer's also tend to take longer than before to complete normal daily tasks. As Alzheimer's progresses and becomes severe, people may lose the ability to communicate and recognize oneself or family members.

Alzheimer's accounts for 50 percent to 70 percent of dementia cases in people ages 65 and older. A microscopic analysis of the deceased's brain tissue can reveal the plaques and tangles, which are masses of abnormal proteins, linked to Alzheimer's. These proteins hinder brain function, affecting and limiting the parts of the brain that control memory, abstract thinking, judgment, behavior, movement and language. 

Alzheimer's causes worsening dementia symptoms as a result of its progressive destruction of a person's brain cells. Because Alzheimer's usually progresses slowly, a person with the disease may experience a gradual decline in cognitive abilities over a period of seven to 10 years. 

Alzheimer’s disease affects millions of people: patients and the people who care for them intimately and professionally. The disease is associated with memory loss and neural and physical decline. But perhaps one of its most common symptoms is the feeling of deep isolation shared by patients and caregivers.

Training programs for caregivers include geriatric care management and Alzheimer’s/dementia-specific training. Information includes services that support home care for individuals.

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are often used interchangeably as many people believe that one means the other. In fact, the distinction between the two diseases often causes confusion on the behalf of customers, families and caregivers. Alzheimer’s and dementia are still a mystery in many ways. This is why the two similar diseases are often mixed up in every day conversation, dementia is a brain disorder that affects communication and performance of daily activities and Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that specifically affects parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language.

By having this knowledge our caregivers can support customers to remain as independent as possible within their own home and to recognize the support they may need in order to achieve this.

Arrange a free home visit today with our care manager.

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3. Assessment

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4. Care team chosen & care starts

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