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  • Jeannie Watson

How Alzheimer’s Disease & Dementia Differ

Updated: Apr 12, 2019

When your loved one is diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s, it can be devastating in a number of ways. Both progressive illnesses, they will likely require the person to receive long term care. However, in spite of the fact that both diseases impact memory, they aren’t exactly the same. And learning the differences between the two, as described below, can empower you to care for the person as best as you can.


Dementia is a term used to describe different brain disorders that affect cognitive abilities. All of these disorders have the potential to cause memory loss as well as impact the person’s ability to make judgments, comprehend behaviors, and control their emotions.

Some types of dementia include Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD). Before diagnosis, doctors determine whether symptoms may be caused by another underlying and treatable problem, such as abnormal thyroid levels or vitamin deficiencies. A series of blood tests, brain scans, and cognitive tests are also conducted to determine the root cause.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that impacts the brain’s abilities. Like dementia at large, symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include memory loss, difficulty communicating, and trouble thinking. Symptoms more specific to the disease include disorientation, trouble speaking and swallowing, difficulty walking, depression, and marked changes in behavior. While some other types of dementia may share these symptoms, they usually have other additional issues that help doctors make a final diagnosis.

With both diseases, families may hire caregivers to provide long term care as their loved one’s condition progresses. The goal is to allow for the greatest possible quality of life while ensuring a safe environment that is both familiar and nurturing. With this help, families can be assured their loved one’s personal hygiene and daily needs are met.

Coping with a loved one’s dementia diagnosis can be difficult, but you don’t have to navigate these hard times alone. Turn to our compassionate staff at Lakeview Christian Home. Our non-profit Christian facility offers a number of long term care options for patients who require additional assistance as their diseases progress. Our goal is to provide your loved one with dignity in a comfortable environment. You can visit us online to find out more about your options, including home health, long term care and skilled nursing assistance, or call (575) 887-0100.

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