Advertisements
 

Is Alzheimer’s Dementia?-Reblogged from Creating life with words – Inspiration, love and truth- Via Dealing With Dementia


As my Dad continues to struggle, I often wonder–and am asked–about the difference. A great post. Worth reblogging!

A cyberfriend suggested I write about this; “Alzheimer’s disease has one image, dementia another.” Last week at the launch of a DVD made by Domiciliary Care SA about younger onset dementia, I was asked by a woman if Alzheimer’s was dementia. This was curious to me, as the group in attendance were all people related to the service provision of people with dementia, and simply showed the ignorance that is still out there, not just within the community not affected (yet) by dementia, but by some working in that area.

It seems as if there are more stigmas associated with the term dementia. Often people refer to Alzheimer’s disease as ‘Old-timer’s disease’, almost jokingly as if it is a normal part of ageing. Whereas, the term dementia is more likely to be denied, and I have heard many say they are glad it is not dementia, it is only Alzheimer’s. There is a gross misunderstanding in the community; heightened by the fact the very organisations supporting people with dementia and their families are called Alzheimer’s Associations.

Recently I watched a DVD, prepared for families caring for loved ones with dementia for an organisation called Seniors Helpers. It was produced in partnership with Teepa Snow, a Dementia Care Specialist in the USA, and she talks about the difference between Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Her analogy is brilliant, and I think many will find it helpful. Dementia is a group of diseases, a syndrome rather than a diagnosis. It is an umbrella term for the many different types of dementia. She likens dementia to fruit. Fruit is a term for hundreds of types of fruit. Then there are subheadings like apples and oranges, and under those subheadings of fruit, there are different types of apples and oranges. Seniors Helpers is an international organisation, so if you wanted to see this DVD, contact them in your country.

Here is a simple explanation of dementia.

Dementia is a clinical syndrome of organic origin, characterised by slow onset of decline in multiple cognitive functions; the gradual deterioration of functioning, such as thinking, concentration, memory, and judgment, which affects a person’s ability to perform normal daily activities. It is a terminal illness. Dementia is not a specific disease; it is simply a word for a group of symptoms that affect cognition and thinking. There are approximately 100 types and causes of dementia; Alzheimer’s disease is one type of dementia, and is the most common making up between 50-70% of diagnoses of dementia. Dementia can also be caused by stroke and other medical conditions. Dementia occurs primarily in people who are over the age of 65, or in those with an injury or disease that affects brain function. Dementia can also be caused by drug and/or alcohol abuse. While dementia is most commonly seen in the elderly, it is not a normal consequence of the aging process. Dementia over the age of 65 is known as ‘Older Onset dementia’, and under the age of 65 as ‘Younger onset dementia’. Alzheimer’s is currently not just incurable but untreatable. The available drugs can alleviate some of the symptoms, but they don’t slow the disease. There are currently no treatment options for the other types of dementia. I once wrote, Dementia represents the end of dreaming, a long and unforgiving one way odyssey into obscurity, clouded in a thick and unforgiving fog (2009).

Symptoms of dementia

The symptoms of dementia are similar whatever the person’s age. Dementia affects the brain in many ways and may cause:

Memory loss
Mood changes and inappropriate interactions
Disorientation in time, day and place
Difficulties in communication
Inability to concentrate
Personality changes
Difficulties in recognition, understanding and comprehension
Behavioural changes
Younger Onset Dementia

Any dementia beginning before the age of 65 is known as younger onset dementia. There are estimated to be approximately 16 000 Australians currently living with younger onset dementia but there are very few age appropriate services to cater for their specific needs. Through targeted promotion and advocacy, it is aimed to raise the profile of the illness and the impact it has on those affected by it.

Although the symptoms of dementia are similar whatever a person’s age, younger people with dementia have additional issues. They may:

Be in work at the time of diagnosis
Have dependent children still living at home
Have significant financial commitments
Be physically fit and behave in ways that other people find challenging
Be more aware of their disease in the early stages
Find it hard to accept and cope with losing skills at such a young age
Find it difficult to access information, support and services aimed for people over 65
Have a partner who is still in fulltime employment
Often have the rarer types of dementia (such as fronto temporal and Lewy body) which present with more challenging behaviours
Usually a poorer prognosis to older onset dementias

A cyberfriend suggested I write about this; “Alzheimer’s disease has one image, dementia another.”  Last week at the launch of a DVD made by Domiciliary Care SA about younger onset dementia, I was asked by a woman if Alzheimer’s was dementia. This was curious to me, as the group in attendance were all people related to the service provision of people with dementia, and simply showed the ignorance that is still out there, not just within the community not affected (yet) by dementia, but by some working in that area.

It seems as if there are more stigmas associated with the term dementia. Often people refer to Alzheimer’s disease as ‘Old-timer’s disease’, almost jokingly as if it is a normal part of ageing. Whereas, the term dementia is more likely to be denied, and I have heard many say they are glad it is not dementia, it is only Alzheimer’s…

View original post 654 more words

Advertisements

~ by Butch on September 23, 2012.

One Response to “Is Alzheimer’s Dementia?-Reblogged from Creating life with words – Inspiration, love and truth- Via Dealing With Dementia”

  1. Hi Butch, Thanks for reblogging this one. It is a question I get all the time even from dementia workers!! Keep caring, keep blogging. Take care, Kate

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: