My Mum


Registered User
Feb 4, 2004
Hello friends, we have recently learned our Mum had Dementia.

Can anyone help us by explaining the difference between Dementia and Alzheimer's.

We thought we understood, but reading these boards has made us think otherwise.

Our GP isn't interested and says its part of the aging process and we must contact Social Services for any help.

Is there no medication available?

I look forward to getting some replies . Thankyou Pat x


Registered User
Dec 26, 2003
Pat sorry to hear of your news. Glad you found this site early on to get some support. It's also worth trying to find your local Alzheimers Goup and possibly a local carers group because they have a wealth of local knowlege.

I'm not surprised you're having difficulty understanding the difference, often the experts seem to have difficulty sorting out what kind of dementia someone has. It certainly doesn't sound like your GP's an expert - or even very well informed. Dementia is an umbrella term that encompasses several different types of dementia including Alzheimers and Vascular dementia. Managing from day to day it doesn't matter too much which type of dementia your mother has - it's still hell for you both but I highly recommend the book "learnig to speak Alzheimers". it will help you to understand how to help make things easier for your mum and yourselves.

Until the early 90's there was little difference in the treatment options but now we have Aricept etc it is essential to get a proper diagnosis because government guidelines only approve their use in Alzheimers and not Vascular dementia. Also if your mother has a vascular dementia (where, in effect, small areas of the brain are affected by mini strokes ) then it's essential to try and reduce factors that might provoke further incidents.

It sounds like your GP needs a month or two looking after a family member who is suffering from dementia. There are lots of things that can be done for you and your mother. Firstly you should be referred to a psycho-geriatrician and a Community Psychiatric nurse. Your District Nurse may also be able to provide advice and support. And Social services should also be able to help.

Hope this helps. Wishing you all the best in your struggle