What is the dif­fer­ence be­tween Alzheimer’s Dis­ease and De­men­tia?

St. Thomas Times-Journal - - NATIONAL NEWS -

By: Mag­gie Scan­lon, Pub­lic Ed­u­ca­tion Co­or­di­na­tor Alzheimer So­ci­ety El­gin-St Thomas The big ques­tion I get asked all the time when I am out in the com­mu­nity is what is the dif­fer­ence be­tween Alzheimer’s dis­ease and de­men­tia? De­men­tia is not a spe­cific dis­ease it­self but is an

um­brella term used to de­scribe a set of symp­toms that af­fect mem­ory, think­ing, prob­lem solv­ing, lan­guage and af­fects the per­son’s abil­ity to per­form day-to-day ac­tiv­i­ties. One cause could be Alzheimer’s dis­ease (ap­prox­i­mately 65% of all de­men­tias in Canada), but there are many dif­fer­ent con­di­tions that can cause de­men­tia in­clud­ing vas­cu­lar de­men­tia, Lewy Body de­men­tia, Fron­totem­po­ral de­men­tias and many more. As an ex­am­ple, a cough is a symp­tom of some­thing else; it could be caused by an in­fec­tion, asthma, bron­chi­tis, or some­thing else. The symp­tom, or cough, is the de­men­tia. The cause of the cough, the asthma, bron­chi­tis, etc, is Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer So­ci­ety El­gin-St. Thomas is here to help! We pro­vide ser­vice to any­one who is af­fected by a form of de­men­tia (not just Alzheimer’s dis­ease). If you, or some­one you know is sup­port­ing some­one liv­ing with de­men­tia, we of­fer free, con­fi­den­tial help, sup­port and ad­vo­cacy to in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies cop­ing with de­men­tia. This in­cludes con­nect­ing the per­son liv­ing with de­men­tia and their care part­ners to ad­di­tional com­mu­nity re­sources when needed. We also run monthly drop-in sup­port groups across El­gin County for care part­ners of per­sons liv­ing with de­men­tia. Each ses­sion has in­for­ma­tion about var­i­ous is­sues re­lated to de­men­tia and pro­vides for the op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss the caregiving role with other care part­ners. There does not need to be a re­fer­ral from a doc­tor or a di­ag­no­sis to ac­cess our ser­vices. For more in­for­ma­tion about de­men­tia or sup­ports and ser­vices, check out our web­site at www.alzheimer.ca/el­gin or con­tact our of­fice at 519-633-4396.

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