Is it Alzheimer’s or Dementia???

Most of us know someone who has been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. The Hurley Elder Care Law team has all been touched by this disease…either through our relationship with a client diagnosed with dementia or caring for our own family members living with Alzheimer’s.

Nationally, November is known as Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. The aim is to raise awareness and challenge the stigma surrounding Alzheimer’s and dementia.  Recognizing the need for heightened awareness of this disease, President Ronald Reagan made this designation in 1983. Since that time society is more aware of the social and economic impact of cognitive impairment on older adults, but there is still much to learn.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia…what’s the difference?

Do you know Alzheimer’s Disease is actually one type of dementia? The two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Dementia is a general term used to describe a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life, while Alzheimer’s is a specific disease. According to the World Health Organization, dementia affects over 55 million people internationally, robbing a person of their memory, competency, comprehension, and behavioral awareness over time.

Most common forms of Dementia

Researchers now estimate there are over 100 forms of dementia!  However, 90 percent of all cognitive impairment cases can be attributed to just 4 types of dementia. What are they and what happens in the brain? 

  • Alzheimer’s disease– the most common dementia diagnosis among older adults. It is caused by changes in the brain, including abnormal buildups of proteins.
  • Vascular dementia– a form of dementia caused by conditions that damage blood vessels in the brain or interrupt the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.
  • Lewy Body Dementia– a form of dementia caused by abnormal deposits of the protein alpha-synuclein, called Lewy bodies.
  • Frontotemporal dementia– a rare form of dementia that tends to occur in people younger than 60. It is associated with abnormal amounts or forms of the proteins
    Tau and TDP-43.

Symptoms can be similar among the different types of dementia; this similarity in symptoms can make it difficult to get an accurate diagnosis, yet a proper diagnosis is important for appropriate treatment.

Legal Planning and Changing Care Needs

If your loved one has recently received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia, it is a good time for advanced care planning. It is important to consult a Certified Elder Law Attorney before the loss of capacity. As a Life Care Planning Law Firm, Hurley Elder Care Law can work with you to design a customized legal plan to serve as a road map to help you meet the inevitable challenges of caring for an aging family member. It also takes considers the legal needs of all other family members involved. Please contact our office at 404-843-0121 for a complimentary phone consultation to discuss your situation.

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