Here To learn

here2learn

Registered User
Aug 3, 2005
4
I am so confused and frustrated. That's why I'm here. My Dad was diagnosed with "dementia" over 3 years ago. Although I am an intelligent human being, would someone please help me understand the difference between using the word "dementia" as a diagnosis versus using the term "Alzheimer's"? My dear dad has all the symptoms listed for both. I hope you'll forgive my ignorance, but I haven't seen anything that clarifies this for me. I am "here2learn" - that's HERE TO LEARN. Please help and bless you for doing so!
 

Brucie

Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
12,413
near London
Hello and welcome!

I think we're all here to learn from each other as we have all had different experiences, and all come in at different stages, and with different relationships, so please don't feel awkward about that.

Alzheimer's is a type of dementia, and if a doctor says that a loved one has Alzheimer's then it may mean that they are absolutely certain that this is the kind of dementia, or it may mean that they use the word "Alzheimer's" because that is the most well-recognized form.

If a doctor says they have dementia, then it may not be entirely clear yet which type they have - or whether they have a combination of different dementias [as does my wife].

So you WILL see the same symptoms for both Alzheimer's, and for dementia, because 'dementia' includes "Alzheimer's", but it also includes other kinds of dementia that may have different effects on a day to day basis.

Hope I haven't confused you!

I have a terrible time trying to visualise these things in terms of my wife and in the pictorial terms I use to myself...

look upon diseases as if they were birds and bees. Perhaps 'bees' are diseases that affect the heart. Perhaps 'birds' are dementias. Birds tend to fly; that is a common thing [or symptom], but some birds swim, others don't. Perhaps a non-swimming bird such as a nightingale is "Alzheimer's", perhaps a swan is "vascular dementia".

So we can talk about birds, and understand broadly what they are about.

In the same way, we can talk about dementia, and know roughly what that will mean. But there will be differences caused by the type, the age at which the person has it, their physical condition, etc. As Joanne [another member here] once said - "once you have seen one Alzheimer's patient - you have seen one Alzheimer's patient". Each person will differ in the way it affects them, to a lesser or greater extent.

Please use TP as much as you need!
 

here2learn

Registered User
Aug 3, 2005
4
Thank You!

You did a wonderful job helping me to understand. I think it must be frustrating for a lot of us to see these terms often "tossed around" without clarification. I deeply appreciate the time and concern you took to answer my question. Thanks again!
 

here2learn

Registered User
Aug 3, 2005
4
Information

Many thanks for your reply. This link is excellent and will assist me greatly in providing resources for my family to view. Regards, Judy