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