Understanding the difference: Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are often used interchangeably, but they are distinct terms with specific meanings in the context of cognitive decline in aging adults. Understanding the difference is crucial for accurate diagnosis and appropriate care.

Defining dementia

Dementia is an umbrella term that describes various symptoms affecting cognitive abilities, such as memory, reasoning, and communication skills. It is not a specific disease but a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interfere with daily activities. Various conditions can cause dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease causes dementia

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of dementia cases. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that leads to the gradual decline of cognitive functions. The exact cause of Alzheimer’s is not fully understood, but it involves the buildup of amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brain, which disrupt neural communication and lead to brain cell death.

Get a diagnosis!

Detecting dementia and Alzheimer’s in aging adults requires careful observation and medical evaluation. Early signs include memory loss, difficulty completing familiar tasks, confusion with time or place, and changes in mood or behavior. If these symptoms are noticed, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional who can perform cognitive tests, neurological exams, and brain imaging to diagnose the condition accurately.

Early detection is vital for managing symptoms and improving the quality of life for individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s. While there is currently no cure, treatments, and interventions can slow the progression of symptoms and help individuals maintain independence longer. As a caregiver or healthcare professional, your role is crucial in providing comprehensive care for those affected, making a significant difference in their lives.

Hurley Elder Care Law estimates close to 75% of our clients have some type of cognitive impairment. This is one reason we encourage our client families to contact us as soon as these signs become evident. We always say, ‘The sooner you plan, the more options you have.’ Our experienced certified elder law attorneys, public benefits specialists, and care coordinators create the best plan for your family’s specific legal, financial, and care needs. Call Hurley Elder Care Law, Georgia’s premiere elder law firm, at 404-843-0121 to discuss your elder law needs.

Share this

Subscribe to our blog and monthly newsletter.

Subscribe to blog and newsletter

First Name
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Featured Resources