Specific terminology can be a little tricky sometimes, especially in instances in which we have a common general but vague understanding of some relatively similar terms. Many long-term care facilities like the Beth Abraham Center for rehabilitation and nursing are home to patients who live with the challenges of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease. The difficult effects of these conditions all fall into a category with which most of us are familiar, but which may also leave us wondering what the differences are between these conditions if there are any at all. The specific details of dementia and Alzheimers are very complex, but below is a very brief and simple explanation to get you on the right path.

Alzheimer’s disease is a specific disease that causes the syndrome we refer to as dementia. Dementia itself is not the term for a specific disease, but rather a name was given to a similar set of observable traits that occur across a broad spectrum of patients. Alzheimer’s disease is just one of the many causes of dementia; too little blood flowing to the brain is another separate cause that results in what we call vascular dementia. In total, there are over one hundred different conditions that each cause some form of dementia.

A certain amount of forgetfulness is very common once we progress to an advanced age. While memory loss is one popular characteristic of dementia, we should be careful not to confuse routine forgetfulness like frequently misplacing one’s keys with dementia. Usually, the syndrome medically diagnosed as dementia also at least includes communication problems, vision anomalies, problems focusing thoughts or concentrating, and/or difficulty using normal reasoning or judgment. Seniors who display cloudy or jumbled thinking should consult a physician to determine whether or not further attention to these difficulties is necessary.