What Is the Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer’s?

Posted by Accutech on December 15, 2020 9:11 am

Female home carer supporting old woman to stand up from the sofa at care home

Most people have heard the terms “dementia” and “Alzheimer’s” before. These terms are often used interchangeably, but they don’t mean the same thing. Dementia is a term used to describe the general decline in mental capability in elderly adults. You could say, “My grandfather has dementia as he is forgetting memories, gets confused easily, and has trouble with daily tasks.” 

The term dementia encompasses the state of mental decline that occurs in elderly individuals, whereas Alzheimer’s is a specific disease that can cause dementia. 

Alzheimer’s Disease: Defined

The disease known as Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disorder in which brain cells are slowly destroyed, usually in the region of the brain used for learning and memory. When these parts of the brain are damaged, the result could be a diminished ability to complete tasks, remember things, and think clearly. 

The inability to think clearly has been coined dementia. Alzheimer’s is not the only thing that can cause dementia in elderly adults. Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging, nor is dementia. Dementia is caused by Alzheimer’s disease in around 60-80 percent of cases according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Many family members of those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s bring their family member to a nursing home or assisted living facility to live. These facilities are better able to care for elderly adults with memory problems. Memory and cognitive issues can be dangerous, and nursing homes can implement access control and wander management measures such as Accutech’s ResidentGuard system to protect Alzheimer patients from every day threats.

Dementia: Defined

Dementia is a state of cognitive decline and is often caused by the disease known as Alzheimer’s, but it can be caused by other diseases or biological disorders. For instance, dementia can be caused by Down Syndrome. Here are a few types of dementia not caused by Alzheimer’s:

  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
  • Lewy Body Dementia
  • Frontotemporal Dementia
  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Mixed Dementia
  • Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
  • Posterior Cortical Atrophy
  • Parkinson’s Disease Dementia
  • Vascular Dementia

Now that you understand the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia, do you know how to keep your loved one safe when they are suffering from dementia?

How to Protect Your Loved One When They Have Dementia or Alzheimer’s

Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s — what ultimately matters is your loved one’s safety. Regardless of what caused your loved one’s dementia, you want to protect them and keep them safe. Dementia leaves elderly adults in an extremely vulnerable state in which they can’t take care of themselves properly. They will likely need constant care and attention to help them through the day.

Lots of people who have a family member with dementia will place the elderly adult in a loving care facility where they can enjoy their lives in safety and get the care they need. Nursing homes have many benefits. Here are just a few of the benefits of nursing homes:

  • Daily activities
  • Outings
  • 24-hour care
  • Access to emergency medical services
  • Access to resources
  • Safety and security
  • Social engagement
  • Healthy, regular meals
  • Housekeeping services

Access Control at Nursing Homes

To protect your loved one, putting them in a home is not enough—you must make sure the nursing home has safeguards in place to protect elderly adults with dementia. 

For example, a senior with dementia can be given a bracelet with an alert system to help nursing home staff locate the senior when they have accidentally wandered from the safe areas of the facility. Accutech’s “wander wearable” bracelet integrates with the ResidentGuard system to perform this important safety task.

Other safety mechanisms can be put in place at long-term care facilities to protect elderly with dementia. Door locks, alerts, cameras, and other access control features can be implemented, such as electronic access control. Make sure your loved one is fully protected. They need you to look after them when they can no longer look after themselves.

Topics: Senior Living