What are the differences between dementia and Alzheimer's?

Absolute Care & Health on 13 May 2019

A common question many people ask when they’re thinking about ageing is what are the differences between dementia and Alzheimer’s? Both these conditions are usually experienced later in life but can sometimes affect younger people.

What’s important to keep in mind before we discuss each in more detail, is that regardless of whether you or a loved one develops dementia or Alzheimer's, a comfortable quality of life well into your senior years is still achievable.

What is Dementia?

Let’s begin with Dementia. While many people view this is a stand-alone condition, dementia is actually an umbrella term that refers to a wide range of medical symptoms associated with diminished memory, mobility, communication skills and mood swings.

What is Alzheimer's

Alzheimer’s on the other hand is the most common type of dementia, sharing many of its symptoms, including its progressive nature (in other words the symptoms become more obvious with age).

While both dementia and Alzheimer's can develop in younger people, they generally only affect those over the age of 60. Although neither is considered to be a natural part of the ageing process, and recent advances in home care practices mean an active, enjoyable lifestyle can be maintained despite these inevitable challenges.

Symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s: Things to keep an eye out for

Dementia and Alzheimer s

The signs of dementia and symptoms of Alzheimer’s generally overlap, making it difficult to distinguish between the two. However, making this distinction is vital for getting the best treatment and ongoing care, which is why we’ve put together the handy table below.

 DementiaAlzheimer’s Disease

 

 

Signs and symptoms

  • Forgetfulness
  • Confusion
  • Impaired communication skills
  • Loss of decision-making ability
  • Loss of mobility
  • Disorientation
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Progressive memory loss
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Impaired communication skills
  • Disorientation
  • Depression

 

Causes

  • Damage to brain cells as a result of ageing
  • HIV infection
  • Vascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Depression
  • Chronic drug use
  • Damage to brain cells as a result of ageing
  • Shrinkage of brain

 

Treatment

  • Cholinesterase inhibitor medication
  • Natural remedies to boost brain function.
  • Antipsychotic medication
  • Memory loss medication
  • Natural remedies to boost brain function.

 

As you can see from the table above, the group of symptoms characterised by dementia tend to be less severe and have a less pronounced impact on everyday life. However, Alzheimer’s symptoms (a type of dementia) can be more disruptive and lead to a much greater loss of mobility and everyday functioning.

Both groups of symptoms are caused by damage to brain cells, specifically the development of abnormal plaques which weaken the connections between brain cells leading to reduced functionality. In the most advanced cases, brain cells die and the size of the brain actually begins to shrink.

Home Care Packages for dementia and Alzheimer's: How they work and how to apply for one

home care packages3

Absolute Care & Health provide government-funded Home Care Packages that can help you maintain a high standard of living in the comfort of your own home, despite living with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Keep in mind that a government assessment and waiting list does apply before accessing your package, which we can explain in more detail.

As part of a Home Care Package, you will be visited by one of our registered nurses who’ll sit down with you and your loved ones to gain a proper understanding of your needs and lifestyle preferences.

Based on this understanding, we work with you to develop a care plan outlining how we’ll deliver high quality in-home dementia care. This plan will cover all the necessary information, including how many days a week a carefully matched caregivers will be at your house, household duties we can assist you with as well as additional services we can provide.

To apply for a Home Care Package, you’ll need to contact the government-run My Aged Care service on 1800 200 422. They will then organise a care assessment at your home, which will assess your care needs. The results of this assessment will determine which of four Home Care Package funding levels you’re eligible to receive and your position in a national waiting list.

Home Care Package funding levels

Care levelCare needsApprox Govt fundingExpected waiting time

Level 1

Basic care needs

$8,270.90

1-3 months

Level 2

Low-level care needs

$15,045.30

9-12 months

Level 3

Intermediate care needs

$33,076.30

12 months+

Level 4

High-level care needs

$50,286.05

12 months+

*Eligible care recipients can also receive a further 11.5% dementia and cognition supplement on top of these levels, as part of their individual budgets.  

Once you’ve been allocated Home Care Package at your eligible funding level, simply select Absolute Care & Health as your preferred care provider. This government funding will now be available and you can look forward to continuing life as normal, with a little extra help of course, under the comfort of your own roof.

Get in touch with our experienced team to talk about about in-home dementia care

Keen to find out more? Let’s talk about the costs and benefits today. We’d love to hear from you and our friendly team are always happy to help!

Find out how we can help you with simple, low cost, high quality in-home dementia care. Have a chat with our experienced team on 03 9827 8899.