What is the difference between senile dementia and alzheimer's

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Resources' started by CraigC, Apr 10, 2008.

  1. CraigC

    CraigC Registered User

    Mar 21, 2003
    6,630
    London
    Does anyone ever ask you a question and when you give an answer you start to question your own understanding. When that happens to me, I'm straight off on google trying to get the right clear answer.

    Someone asked me today....
    I know senile dementia is a old term that we do not use any more, but it did make me realise that it is a term that many still associate with dementia.

    Anyway, my research came across some great FAQs that I think are worth sharing. These are questions answered by David Shenk who wrote 'The Forgetting: Alzheimer's, Portrait of an Epidemic'

    http://abcnews.go.com/WN/Story?id=3892244&page=1

    If you curious like me, go to above external link to read the questions and answer to the following:

    Question: I still don't understand the difference between dementia and Alzheimer's. Also, I have read that you should not argue with an Alzheimer's patient, but when my mother is confused, I feel that it sometimes seems to help when I "correct" her version of reality. Can I do anything to keep her grounded in

    Question: Is there such a disease as pre-Alzheimer's? What medicines, nutritional changes or aggressive clinical trials are available to help patients keep their memory and ability to function longer? Does loneliness or depression precipitate dementia or Alzheimer's?

    Question: How do I deal with a family member who accuses me of lying and stealing from her?

    Question: Do you have any suggestions for caregivers who want to help ease an Alzheimer's patient who has significant anxiety as a result of his awareness of his own disease?

    Question: Is it better to care for an Alzheimer's patient at home or is it more feasible for them to be in professional care?

    Question: What rights are there to protect the elderly with Alzheimer's disease from people who potentially will manipulate them?

    Question: Can someone with Alzheimer's ever improve? What is usually the cause of death?​

    The source is the ABC News website http://abcnews.go.com. Just bought the book so will let you know if it is worth hunting down.

    Kind Regards
    Craig
     
  2. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,878
    Kent
    Craig,

    I might be wrong but I feel my grandmother and next door neighbour had `senile dementia`.

    Both were very independent , looked after themselves until in their late 80s. Only then did hey begin to show signs of confusion.....time, days, dates, names.

    But they displayed no challenges, could hold a decent converstaion, were relatively safe in their own home and appreciative of help.

    They both volunteered to go into nursing homes, feeling they needed `looking after`, and were quite lucid until they died, but just a bit muddled.

    They were both 91 whn they died and I felt they had lived through their allotted lifespan.
     
  3. Sandy

    Sandy Registered User

    Mar 23, 2005
    6,847
    Dear Craig,

    Excellent question - great posting.

    I read The Forgetting about three years ago when my father-in-law was first diagnosed. I liked it because it is, as the title says, a portrait - so it's a bit of history, a bit about the search for treatments and a bit about people facing the disease and those who care for them.

    There is a web site for the book:

    http://www.randomhouse.com/features/forgetting/

    It was also the subject of a documentary on America's PBS (Public Broadcasting System) network:

    http://www.pbs.org/theforgetting/index.html

    Take care,

    Sandy
     
  4. CraigC

    CraigC Registered User

    Mar 21, 2003
    6,630
    London
    Thanks for the links Sandy!
    I can now skip the first chapter when the book arrives ;)
     
  5. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Interesting link, Craig, thank you.

    I think the word 'senile' has been dropped because dementia is no longer just a disease of old age. Was it ever, or were younger people with dementia simple treated as mentally ill? Are they still?

    There seems to be more awareness among medical professionals (or at least some of them) that other forms of dementia exist, and other treatments may be appropriate. For a long time Alzheimer's was the blanket diagnosis for any form of dementia.

    Education, education, education!
     
  6. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    9,519
    Frinton-on-Sea
    I requested a copy of the book today at my local library.

    They are going to 'buy in' a copy for me to read. Glad that we still have some civic services that we can rely on.
     
  7. sue38

    sue38 Registered User

    Mar 6, 2007
    10,854
    Wigan, Lancs
    I really don't like the phrase 'senile' or 'senile dementia'. For me it conjures up a description of someone who is old and daft.

    Although it is now in question whether my Dad's dementia is caused at all by Alzheimers, I still say when anyone asks that he has Alzheimer's disease. The reason being that this is a concept that people are now becoming familiar with and identifies it is an illness (not just that he is old and daft). I would hope that soon I will be able to say that he has dementia and people will understand that dementia is an illness and not just think it is a fancy word for 'mad'.

    As Hazel says, education, education, education! BTW, whatever happened to him? ;)
     
  8. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    Making millions, making speeches!:eek:
     
  9. lesmisralbles

    lesmisralbles Account Closed

    Nov 23, 2007
    5,543
    Hi Craig

    Is David Shenk a doctor?
    Barb
     
  10. CraigC

    CraigC Registered User

    Mar 21, 2003
    6,630
    London
    Hi Sue et all,

    With regards to the term 'senile', I scoured the internet yesterday and found that the consensus is that the phrase 'senile dementia' was and phrase used when people lost their memory at an older age even if this memory loss was thought to be part of the normal ageing process. Most of what used to be called senile dementia was in fact Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.

    I get the feeling that the term 'senile' is being dropped by the medical profession in most countries. But that was just my research, I'm no authority on the subject. I'll ask a few people at the alzheimer's society, would be interested in their view.

    My personal opinion is the term 'senile' is a little insulting, but that really is just my personal take on it.

    Kind Regards
    Craig

    ------------
    Barb,

    David Shenk is a researcher and writer, he also makes money from lectures and his books. I'm not associated to him in anyway, just like his clear style of writing. Not sure if you have read many books written by doctors but they are usually double up as a very good cure for insomnia.

    Kind Regards
    Craig
     
  11. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,878
    Kent
    It`s strange isn`t it. We find the term `senile` offensive and yet we use the term `juvenile` with ease.

    Is it because `senile` became synonymous with dementia?
     
  12. CraigC

    CraigC Registered User

    Mar 21, 2003
    6,630
    London
    It may be just me Sylvia, as I say not an authority on the subject. The term juvenile is also pretty insulting in my house. I don't tend to use either term, think they both put people down in some way. Perhaps I associate the term juvenile with 'juvenile delinquent'. But as you know I am a bit weird.
     
  13. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    69,878
    Kent
    Craig, I don`t mean juvenile in a derogatory sense, I would never use it at home, but as far as I know there are still Juvenile Courts.
     
  14. CraigC

    CraigC Registered User

    Mar 21, 2003
    6,630
    London
    Hi Sylvia,

    I see what you mean. Will let you know if I get any more info on this. The orginal question has definitely got me thinking though. Just very glad the term alzheimer's is more recognised these days.

    Cheers
    Craig
     
  15. Sandy

    Sandy Registered User

    Mar 23, 2005
    6,847
    Hi Craig et al,

    I found this really interesting article on the history of the term 'senile dementia' and the naming of Alzheimer's disease as we know it today.

    It's not exactly light reading, but it is an intriguing view into the history of medicine:

    http://genome.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_wtd020951.html

    Take care,

    Sandy
     
  16. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    17,000
    SW Scotland
    #16 Skye, Apr 11, 2008
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2008
    OK, mortar board out again!

    Latin Senex, an old man.

    Was originally used to denote seniority (from the same stem) and respect. Has become derogatory because it is now associated with weakening mental capacity.

    Latin Juvenis, a young man.

    Originally neutral, denoting someone under the age of maturity. Has also become derogatory because of associations with juvenile court, juvenile behaviour, etc.

    They'll both probably retain their derogatory interpretations, language doesn't usually regress.

    End of lecture!:eek:

    PS Senator also come from senex!
     
  17. CraigC

    CraigC Registered User

    Mar 21, 2003
    6,630
    London
    Great reading Sandy! thanks.
    And thanks for the lesson Hazel, I'm learning new things all the time!

    I'm now so looking forward to someone asking me this question again! "Funny you should ask........"

    Kind Regards
    Craig
     
  18. Mameeskye

    Mameeskye Registered User

    Aug 9, 2007
    1,669
    NZ
    I just wonder if they really know. Although I read the AZ site when Mum was getting forgetful I didn't join as Mum was not diagnosed with AZ, but vascular dementia. All the societies use the term in their fund raising and part of me wonders if this is a barrier to those suffering from other dementias and if that is the "brand" that they should be forwarding.

    As to the different types, there probably are. But each seems to attack in different ways and depending upon how the brain has wired itself in the first place I am sure that the effect are different..which probably goes along the line of when you have seen one person with dementia you've seen one person with dementia! Everyone is different, becuase of their experiences throughout life which will have impacted upon their brains.

    As to raising funds...well I am raising some from donations instead of flowers. They will be split between the Residents Fund for Mum's home and those sent directly to us are going to Alzheimers Research. That way we help those now and hopefully help people in the future too.

    I think that the term senile dementia is just another sign of the ageism in the population. After all my mother's death certificate says that she died of debility due to old age. Advanced Dementia is only a secondary cause...funny that...it's old age that gives the debility, not the dementia (what, sarcastic, me???!!!!!!)

    Mameeskye
     
  19. CraigC

    CraigC Registered User

    Mar 21, 2003
    6,630
    London
    Just to add:

    This quote, taken from the Royal College of Psychiatrists' website may explain why the term 'senile demetia' is no longer appropriate.

    The link:

    http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/default.aspx?page=2395&sId=55

    Hope that helps
    Craig
     
  20. sue38

    sue38 Registered User

    Mar 6, 2007
    10,854
    Wigan, Lancs
    Hazel. Thanks for that. I should have known but it is a long time since I did Latin.

    It's strange how the word 'senile' has come to mean a description of someone with dementia.

    I have just typed 'senility' into Wikipedia and was re-directed to a description of dementia. (Complete with the how the word dementia comes from the Latin. Hazel, how long have you been working for Wikipedia? ;))
     

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