Dementia Or Alzheimer’s?
It is becoming more common for people to be aware of dementia and Alzheimer’s, however, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding these two conditions. The vast majority of people actually think that they are the same illness, but this isn’t the case and someone can have dementia without having Alzheimer’s and vice versa. To help clear up some confusion relating to dementia and Alzheimer’s, below is an easy to understand guide covering all of the basics.
What is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s?
Simply put, dementia isn’t actually a disease itself, but Alzheimers is.
Dementia is a collection of symptoms that occur due to damage to the brain which is caused by different diseases and there are lots of different types of dementia. Alzheimer’s is a progressive brain disease and it is one of the diseases that can cause dementia. In fact, Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia here in the UK.
It’s worth noting that neither dementia or Alzheimer’s is a natural part of ageing and if you’re concerned about these conditions, you should speak to a medical professional. There is also a range of other health conditions that can cause dementia-like symptoms, including; thyroid problems, urinary disorders, vitamin deficiencies, heart or lung conditions and diabetes. So, it is incredibly important to book a doctor appointment to get these symptoms checked out.
What are the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s?
Both dementia and Alzheimer’s can affect different people in different ways and not everyone experiences the same symptoms. That being said, both of these conditions do share some similar early symptoms that are beneficial to look out for as people get older, including;
- Memory loss
- Finding it harder to concentrate
- Confusion with daily tasks
- Struggling to find the right word
- Finding it hard to follow a conversation
- Mood changes
Many of these symptoms will appear before a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s and you shouldn’t overlook them. An early diagnosis of both of these conditions can be really beneficial, and getting the right treatment and support in place as soon as possible is important.
There are some symptoms that are specific to Alzheimer’s that differ from those mentioned above and are worth being aware of too, including;
- Asking questions repetitively
- Hesitating when trying new things
- Disorientation in familiar environments
- Finding it hard making decisions
- Becoming less physically able
- Repetitive or impulsive behaviour
As mentioned above, Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, so whilst symptoms may not be that noticeable to start with, over time they will worsen. Monitoring any symptoms you have picked up on and encouraging the person with symptoms to speak to a medical professional is the best thing to do. Always try to be as supportive as you can during this difficult and confusing time.
How can you help a loved one living with dementia or Alzheimer’s?
Everyone should be aware that following a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s, with the right support, someone can continue to live well for many years. You can continue to bring so much joy to your loved one’s life by supporting them with hobbies and interests that they love, and helping them to maintain their independence and live with some sort of normality.
Taking care of both physical and mental health following a diagnosis is really important too, and you should encourage your loved one to; eat a healthy balanced diet, regularly exercise, get enough sleep and attend all dental, eyesight and hearing appointments.
Another step after a dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis is to put a care plan in place and this should always be done in line with your loved one’s wishes. Not only will creating this person-centred care plan help you to plan ahead for the future and prepare for any care that might be needed, but it provides your loved one with an opportunity to express their thoughts and feelings relating to their future as well.
You may find that for a while after their diagnosis, your loved one is able to continue with their day-to-day life as normal, but over time as their condition progresses, they will likely require some additional support. At this time, it is beneficial to contact an independent care broker who can help you to navigate the complex care market.
Many people prefer to stay at home for as long as possible, so you might want to explore the option of home care services to start with and find a home care agency that you can rely on to provide you with quality care services. Then, later down the road, you can look into specialist home care or even residential care that is tailored to people with dementia and Alzheimer’s. This will provide peace of mind that your loved one is getting the care and support they need.
It is beneficial to speak to a care broker about the other care and support services available too and there are a number of options to explore in this regard, from local dementia cafes to paid day centres. All of these services can be beneficial at various stages in your loved one’s life.
Contacting an independent care broker
If you would like to speak to an independent care broker about the different options available for a loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Care Captains today. We can help you to plan and manage tailored care and support for your loved one, and help you seek out an outstanding home care provider that is able to offer the flexible, bespoke solutions that they need both now and in the future.
Arrange a consultation with an expert
A care needs assessment will help you and your care provider to create a tailored plan that a home care provider can follow to help ensure they’re providing the right type and amount of care.
If you’re currently trying to find a home care provider to assist your loved one, be sure to contact us here at Care Captains. Our care brokerage service can help you ensure that you’re selecting the right provider.