Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide to Cleveland

Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia

What's the difference between dementia and Alzheimer's disease?

Dementia is a broad term covering many diseases and conditions that affect thinking, memory, and language. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, but there are many others. Small strokes can cause dementia and so can certain vitamin deficiencies, hormonal problems, depression, and alcohol abuse.

What's normal and what's not?

"Senior moments" those times when you can't remember a name or where you put your car keys happen to everyone, and memory loss is a normal part of aging. What's significant is when memory problems affect day-to-day function.

How do you find out?

Diagnosing dementia or Alzheimer's disease begins with a physical exam that may include additional tests, such as lab work or radiology studies.

But the most important part of the process is discussion with family members and others who know the patient well. Reviewing the patient's history often is the best way to understand what's happening and how the patient got where he or she is today.

Possible Signs of Alzheimer's Disease

These problems, in any combination, may be early signs of Alzheimer's disease. See a doctor, as medical treatment can help.

Care for the Caregiver: Tips to Keep You Strong

If you're caring for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer's disease, you're not alone. In fact, family members, not institutions, provide most of the care for people affected by dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Asking for help and realizing that you need to take care of yourself, too, are vital to your wellbeing.

Give Yourself Credit

Learn all you can. Begin by exploring community resources, support groups and by contacting the Alzheimer's Association's Help Line at 1-800-272-3900 or visit:

Find Respite

One of the best ways for you to rest and recharge is to arrange respite care for your loved one. Respite, like the name implies, is time off for you, while someone else takes over your caregiver duties. Respite care is available on a regular or an occasional basis and can vary from a few hours to several days. It can be arranged through a number of community agencies.

Dr. James Campbell
Dr. James Campbell

Try These Coping Strategies

When caregiving becomes overwhelming, try these stress-relieving responses. Experiment to learn which ones work best for you.

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