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Is Dementia The Same As Alzheimer’s

Is There Treatment Available

What’s the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s?

At present there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, one group of drugs called cholinergeric drugs appears to be providing some temporary improvement in cognitive functioning for some people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

Drugs can also be prescribed for secondary symptoms such as restlessness or depression or to help the person with dementia sleep better.

Community support is available for the person with Alzheimer’s disease, their families and carers. This support can make a positive difference to managing dementia. Dementia Australia provides support, information and counselling for people affected by dementia. Dementia Australia also aims to provide up-to-date information about drug treatments.

Further help

For more information contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.

For a range of books and videos contact our Library.

For advice, common sense approaches and practical strategies on the issues most commonly raised about dementia, read our Help Sheets.

Common Forms Of Dementia

There are many different forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form and may contribute to 6070% of cases. Other major forms include vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies , and a group of diseases that contribute to frontotemporal dementia . The boundaries between different forms of dementia are indistinct and mixed forms often co-exist.

Summary Of Dementia Vs Senility

  • Dementia and senility can both appear as forgetfulness.
  • Senility is an old-fashioned term that was used to also indicate dementia.
  • Senility may or may not indicate dementia.
  • Dementia is a severe form of senility that is progressive and worsens.
  • Dementia is progressive and usually becomes worse over time.
  • Dementia can take many forms including Alzheimers disease, but it can also occur with vascular problems or infections.

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The Use Of The Word Senile

The common use of the word senile loosely references the loss of cognitive abilities or the inability to think clearly. Although still occasionally used, this term has lost its popularity, partly because it has a negative, disrespectful tone, as in, The old man is senile.

Senile was used more commonly in the past, especially when memory loss and confusion were thought of, by some, as a normal consequence of getting older. The view used to be that the body and the mind both could be expected to decline together as someone aged, and that poor mental functioning was just a normal part of aging.

An individual was often described as having senile dementia or senile Alzheimers, meaning that the disease and its associated mental decline developed in older age.

Science now understands that significant memory loss, disorientation, and confusion are not normal parts of aging but rather are symptoms of a neurocognitive disorder such as Alzheimers, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, or Lewy body dementia.

Senile is sometimes used to describe the plaques that build up in the brain as Alzheimers disease progresses. These senile plaques are often described as one of the hallmarks of Alzheimers disease, along with neurofibrillary tangles.

Isnt Dementia Part Of Normal Aging

What is the difference between Alzheimers and Dementia?

No, many older adults live their entire lives without developing dementia. Normal aging may include weakening muscles and bones, stiffening of arteries and vessels, and some age-related memory changes that may show as:

  • Occasionally misplacing car keys
  • Struggling to find a word but remembering it later
  • Forgetting the name of an acquaintance
  • Forgetting the most recent events

Normally, knowledge and experiences built over years, old memories, and language would stay intact.

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Social And Economic Impact

Dementia has significant social and economic implications in terms of direct medical and social care costs, and the costs of informal care. In 2015, the total global societal cost of dementia was estimated to be US$ 818 billion, equivalent to 1.1% of global gross domestic product . The total cost as a proportion of GDP varied from 0.2% in low- and middle-income countries to 1.4% in high-income countries.

Difference Between Alzheimers And Senile Dementia

Categorized under Health | Difference Between Alzheimers and Senile Dementia


Old age and the loss of mental faculties are an unfortunate but harsh reality. Alzheimers disease is, perhaps, the most common and debilitating of this type of affliction. However, most people are unaware that Alzheimers disease is only one disease under the larger umbrella that is Senile Dementia. Alzheimers maybe the most infamous, but there are many other forms of this condition.

Senile Dementia can be considered as an all-encompassing term utilized to indicate the deterioration and eventual loss of intellectual acuity related to advanced aging, and is caused by degeneration of ones brain cells. Alzheimers disease is often confused as either the same or alternatively it is often considered to be something entirely different from it. Yes and no yes, Alzheimers disease is a condition that qualifies as Senile Dementia, but Alzheimers is actually one of the forms of it. Other forms of Senile Dementia include Fronto-temporal Dementia, Lewy Body disease, Parkinsons disease, and Vascular Dementia. Alzheimers, meanwhile, is the most common of these. It should also not be confused with normal senility.


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What Is The Difference Between Dementia And Alzheimers Disease

Dementia is caused by different diseases that affect the brain. Alzheimers disease is the most common of these diseases. Some other common types of dementia include vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies.

This means that dementia is not a disease in its own right. Dementia is the name for a group of symptoms that commonly include problems with memory, thinking, problem solving, language and perception.

While there is a relationship between dementia and Alzheimers disease, there are key differences between the two.

Alzheimers Vs Dementia Symptoms

What’s the Difference Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia?

Because Alzheimers and other dementias cause cognitive impairment, symptoms for the various types of dementia often overlap.

Generally, Alzheimers and other dementias cause:

Impaired memoryA decline in the ability to think and use reason and judgementImpaired speaking and communication ability

Alzheimers symptoms typically include:

Loss of short-term memory

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Alzheimers Vs Dementia What Is Dementia

Dementia is similar to Alzheimers in that it does result in significant memory loss. However, Dementia refers to the loss of cognitive ability due to no obvious circumstances such as a major injury or trauma. Rather than focusing on the memory portion of the brain, Dementia symptoms focus on multiple areas of the brain including the memory, language and problem solving areas. Like Alzheimers, Dementia is a progressive disease that begins almost unnoticeably and the patients health declines over time. In addition to having difficulty remembering things that are typically considered common knowledge, Dementia patients lose their ability to function in the world by losing the ability to recognize their own language, read, write, or solve basic math problems or tell time.

What To Do If A Loved One Is Suspicious Of Having Dementia

  • Discuss with loved one. Talk about seeing a medical provider about the observed changes soon. Talk about the issue of driving and always carrying an ID.
  • Medical assessment. Be with a provider that you are comfortable with. Ask about the Medicare Annual Wellness exam.
  • Family Meeting. Start planning, and gather documents like the Health Care Directive, Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care, Estate Plan.

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Alzheimers And Dementia Arent The Same Thing

Though many people use the words Alzheimers and dementia interchangeably, theyre not the same thing.

Dementia is a syndrome, which is a group of symptoms that relate to a specific disorder or disease. Its not a disease in itself.

Dementia is caused when the brain is damaged by diseases like Alzheimers, mini strokes, or traumatic brain injury.

Alzheimers disease is a form of dementia. Its the most common type and accounts for 60 80% of all dementia cases.

However, not all dementia is caused by Alzheimers. Aside from Alzheimers, there are 8 major types of dementia.

Learning about the difference between Alzheimers and dementia is important because it helps you make more informed care decisions and find effective ways to manage symptoms.

We explain what dementia is, what Alzheimers disease is, and the differences between symptoms for Alzheimers vs. dementia.

Develop Helpful Daily Routines

What is the difference between Alzheimers and Dementia ...

Having general daily routines and activities can provide a sense of consistency for an Alzheimers or dementia patient and help ease the demands of caregiving. Of course, as your loved ones ability to handle tasks deteriorates, youll need to update and revise these routines.

Keep a sense of structure and familiarity. Try to keep consistent daily times for activities such as waking up, mealtimes, dressing, receiving visitors, and bedtime. Keeping these things at the same time and place can help orientate the person with dementia. Use cues to establish the different times of dayopening the curtains in the morning, for example, or playing soothing music at night to indicate bedtime.

Involve your loved one in daily activities as much as theyre able. For example, they may not be able to tie their shoes, but may be able to put clothes in the hamper. Clipping plants in the yard may not be safe, but they may be able to weed, plant, or water.

Vary activities to stimulate different sensessight, smell, hearing, and touchand movement. For example, you can try singing songs, telling stories, dancing, walking, or tactile activities such as painting, gardening, or playing with pets.

Spend time outdoors. Going for a drive, visiting a park, or taking a short walk can be very therapeutic. Even just sitting outside can be relaxing.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Dementia And Alzheimers

The symptoms of dementia vary depending on its cause. The common symptoms are:

  • Problems in communication and speech
  • Alterations in thinking ability
  • Problems with judgment and reasoning
  • Abnormal visual perceptions such as seeing things which are not there , inability to detect movement or see the difference between colors

Alzheimers disease progresses through different stages. Thus, the signs and symptoms may vary according to the stage of the disease. The typical signs of Alzheimers are:

  • The person has a progressive decline in memory
  • They report the inability to focus and concentrate
  • The person repeatedly asks the same questions
  • They forget something they just read
  • They have trouble staying organized
  • They find it difficult to make and execute plans
  • They tend to forget names
  • A lack of interest in the surroundings: the person avoids conversations or participating in activities
  • Inability to remember personal details such as phone number and home address
  • They may confuse people and relations, for instance, they may confuse their wife with their mother.
  • They forget names but may recognize faces.
  • They may also exhibit loss of bowel and bladder control.
  • The person needs help for basic needs such as eating, drinking, sitting up and walking. They may even forget how to smile or swallow their food properly.
  • They often develop stiffness and joint deformities.

Difference Between Alzheimers And Dementia

Alzheimers disease and dementia are two terms that are often used interchangeably as many people believe that one means the other. In fact, the distinction between the two diseases often causes confusion on the behalf of caregivers, families and patients. Learn more about how the two diagnoses, while related, are remarkably different.

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Stage : Mild Dementia

At this stage, individuals may start to become socially withdrawn and show changes in personality and mood. Denial of symptoms as a defense mechanism is commonly seen in stage 4. Behaviors to look for include:

  • Difficulty remembering things about one’s personal history
  • Disorientation
  • Difficulty recognizing faces and people

In stage 4 dementia, individuals have no trouble recognizing familiar faces or traveling to familiar locations. However, patients in this stage will often avoid challenging situations in order to hide symptoms or prevent stress or anxiety.

Stage : Age Associated Memory Impairment

The difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia

This stage features occasional lapses of memory most frequently seen in:

  • Forgetting where one has placed an object
  • Forgetting names that were once very familiar

Oftentimes, this mild decline in memory is merely normal age-related cognitive decline, but it can also be one of the earliest signs of degenerative dementia. At this stage, signs are still virtually undetectable through clinical testing. Concern for early onset of dementia should arise with respect to other symptoms.

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Symptoms Specific To Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia is the second most common cause of dementia, after Alzheimers. Some people have both vascular dementia and Alzheimers disease, often called mixed dementia.

Symptoms of vascular dementia are similar to Alzheimers disease, although memory loss may not be as obvious in the early stages.

Symptoms can sometimes develop suddenly and quickly get worse, but they can also develop gradually over many months or years.

Specific symptoms can include:

  • stroke-like symptoms: including muscle weakness or temporary paralysis on one side of the body
  • movement problems difficulty walking or a change in the way a person walks
  • thinking problems having difficulty with attention, planning and reasoning
  • mood changes depression and a tendency to become more emotional

Where To Get Help

  • Your local community health service
  • Your local council
  • National Dementia Helpline Dementia Australia Tel. 1800 100 500
  • Aged Care Assessment Services Tel. 1300 135 090
  • My Aged Care Tel. 1800 200 422
  • Cognitive Dementia and Memory Service clinics Tel. 1300 135 090
  • Carers Victoria Tel. 1800 242 636
  • Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres Tel 1800 052 222
  • Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service Tel. 1800 699 799 for 24-hour telephone advice for carers and care workers

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How To Understand The Difference And Why It Matters

by Kathleen Fifield, AARP, Updated June 15, 2020| 0

Doctors usually rely on observation and ruling out other factors to diagnose Alzheimer’s.

En español | The terms dementia and Alzheimers have been around for more than a century, which means people have likely been mixing them up for that long, too. But knowing the difference is important. In the simplest terms, one is broader than the other. If the two were nesting dolls, Alzheimers would fit inside dementia, but not the other way around. While Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia , there are several other types. The second most common form, vascular dementia, has a very different cause namely, high blood pressure. Other types of dementia include alcohol-related dementia, Parkinsons dementia and frontotemporal dementia each has different causes as well. In addition, certain medical conditions can cause serious memory problems that resemble dementia.

A correct diagnosis means the right medicines, remedies and support. For example, knowing that you have Alzheimers instead of another type of dementia might lead to a prescription for a cognition-enhancing drug instead of an antidepressant. Finally, you may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial for Alzheimers if youve been specifically diagnosed with the disease.

Stage : Moderately Severe Dementia

What is the Difference Between Alzheimer

When the patient begins to forget the names of their children, spouse, or primary caregivers, they are most likely entering stage 6 of dementia and will need full time care. In the sixth stage, patients are generally unaware of their surroundings, cannot recall recent events, and have skewed memories of their personal past. Caregivers and loved ones should watch for:

  • Delusional behavior

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Dementia Vs Alzheimer’s: Differences And Similarities

  • Dementia vs. Alzheimer’s: Differences and Similarities Center
  • The terms dementia and Alzheimers are often used interchangeably. They, however, are not completely synonymous. Dementia is a group of symptoms characterized by a decline in memory, thinking, and reasoning. Dementia is not simply the age-related forgetfulness it is associated with other changes as well. It hinders a person from performing their routine tasks. They find it difficult to focus, understand, concentrate, and have a conversation besides other complaints. There are several causes of dementia:

    Although dementia is a cluster of symptoms, Alzheimers is a disease. It is the commonest type of dementia consisting of around 60-80% of dementia cases. Alzheimers disease is an irreversible, slowly progressive disorder of the brain that destroys memory and thinking skills which eventually makes a person unable to carry out the most basic tasks. Most people develop this disease in their mid-60s while for some the symptoms first appear between their 30s and mid-60s. There are seven stages of Alzheimers, dementia occurs in the mid to late stages of the disease.

    How Dementia Is Different From Senility

    While senility is a loosely used and somewhat inaccurate and negative reference to cognitive loss, dementia is an accepted medical term.

    Dementia includes a broad range of brain conditions that cause a progressive decline in a persons ability to think and remember. Moreover, the loss of these abilities makes it increasingly difficult for people to function or care for themselves.

    The most common causes of dementia include Alzheimers disease, followed by vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia. Other less common causes include Huntingtons disease, tertiary syphilis, HIV-associated dementia, and CreutzfeldtJakob disease.

    While there is no cure for dementia, the progression of the condition is typically slow. When faced with evidence of dementia, doctors will usually classify it by stage based on symptoms. Based on the findings, the stage of the condition may be classified as follows:

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    Rem Sleep Behavior Disorder

    LBD: People with LBD sometimes experience REM sleep behavior disorder, a dysfunction where they physically act out the situations in their dreams. Some research suggests that REM sleep behavior disorder can be one of the earlier predictors of LBD.

    Alzheimers:REM sleep behavior disorder is not typically present in Alzheimers, although other types of sleep disturbances may occur.

    The Need For More Public Awareness And Research Funding


    While the differences between Alzheimers and dementia are clear to families dealing with the diseases, more public awareness is needed to differentiate between the two.

    Further understanding of what exactly causes Alzheimers will help to clear any confusion and hopefully lead to better treatments plans and, ultimately, a cure.

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