Mar 21, 2011

What is Worse Alzheimer's or Dementia?

You cannot do any job effectively if you don't understand the basics. Effective Alzheimer's caregiving starts with a foundation of understanding and education.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

What is worse Alzheimer's or Dementia
Communicating in Alzheimer's World
I thought when I published the headline -- What is worse Alzheimer's or Dementia? it might be met with some emotion. Not much here on ARR, some on Facebook and message boards.

If you read the article you will see that I asked a series of questions.

This is the beginning of a series of articles I intend to publish around this theme -- in order to be an effective Alzheimer's caregiver you will first need to come to an understanding about what the disease IS, and how it works.

If you don't do this, it is likely that you will continue to vent and allow recurring behaviors to drive you crazy. If this is happening then you are clearly out of focus, and as a result won't be able to focus on what is most important -- Alzheimer's caregiving.

You cannot do any job effectively if you don't understand the basics.

Effective Alzheimer's caregiving starts with a foundation of understanding and education.

I'll get to this in the next articles, but here is a simple question -- do you know why Alzheimer's patients ask the same questions, or engage in the same behaviors over and over?

Not how do you deal with these behaviors, why are these behaviors happening? What is going on inside the patients health wise that is causing these behaviors to occur?

If you don't have a clear understanding of the WHY?, it is very likely that you will have trouble ACCEPTING these behaviors as the norm. If you don't accept these behaviors as the norm, it is likely you will feel nutty, crazy, and bent out of shape most of the time. How do I know this? Been there.

A lack of understanding will impinge on your ability to be the best Alzheimer's caregiver you can be.

I was not surprised when this question was not answered directly -- What is worse?

There is a common misconception in America that dementia is not as bad as Alzheimer's.

My guess based on my conversations with others in the Alzheimer's community is that somehow if you suffer from dementia you are more or less "senile". Senile -- not nearly as bad as the dreaded Alzheimer's.

You can watch the video of the Alzheimer's gala at Sardi's and if you watch until the end you will notice that most of the celebrities being interviewed never use the word Alzheimer's. They prefer words like disease and dementia. I meet and hear people touched by Alzheimer's all the time. They just can't say the word. The more dreaded word. Alzheimer's. We actually have writers here that do it whether they realize it or not.

Alzheimer's is a very scary word. Why wouldn't it be when persons like Harry Johns', the CEO of the Alzheimer's Associations makes headlines like this --
"Alzheimer's is a tragic epidemic that has no survivors. Not a single one."
Next time you meet someone 450 years old, let me know. I want to meet them.

Alzheimer's is a scary word. Never scarier then when you hear the words -- probable Alzheimer's disease as a diganosis.
FACT: Alzheimer's disease is a type of dementia.
70 to 80 percent of dementia patients are suffering from "probable" Alzheimer's disease.

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

Let me jump in here. Many of our friends feel left out by the Alzheimer's Association. Their loved one is suffering from some other type of dementia like -- Frontotemporal (dementia). Well you are not left out here. I understand how you might be feeling.

Lots of people like Richard Taylor don't like the word Alzheimer's. I understand. They would like to see it changed. Here is my simple suggestion:
Alzheimer's dementia

Not Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's dementia.

Here is something else I believe.

There are a lot of wonderful Alzheimer's caregiver in the World. There are also a lot of wonderful Alzheimer's patients in the World.

All of us are surviving day to day, and doing the best we can.

Promoting awareness is an admirable goal.

But if it was up to me, I would be promoting understanding.

I hope I am doing just that.

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About Alzheimer's Reading Room
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 2,390 articles with more than 272,100 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room