Ask Our Experts; Is There A Difference Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia?

“Is there a difference between
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia?”

The answer to that question is “yes”.

Dementia is defined as the loss of mental ability in the areas of memory, reasoning, planning, and behavior severe enough to interfere with activities of daily living.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for an estimated 50-80% of dementia cases. Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging; however the disease affects 47.5% of all adults over the age of eighty-five. Some other causes of dementia include stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and infections of the brain.

Currently there is not a single test that can confirm a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.  A diagnosis is made by a physician or neurologist based on a series of assessments that may include a mental status exam, physical and neurological exams and in some cases brain imaging. The onset of Alzheimer’s disease is gradual and there is currently no cure; however there are medications which have been shown to slow the progression of the disease, thereby improving the quality of life for those affected.

Throughout the United States persons with dementia are receiving care from an estimated 14.9 million family caregivers.  The physical and emotional toll associated with providing care to someone with dementia can be overwhelming, but there are resources to help. The Minnesota-North Dakota chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association provides education, support and advocacy to those persons affected by dementia. Caregivers can contact the association to obtain a list of support groups and educational events happening in their area by calling (800) 272-3900 or visiting their website at

Submitted by: Mary Morrison

LSW, Social Worker at The Alton Memory Care

The Alton currently has a unique opening for a One Bedroom Couple Suite.

For more information, please contact Mary at 651-699-2480.

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