Alzheimer's vs. dementia.

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According to my mother's caregivers, she has Alzheimer's -early stages. This was diagnosed over 2 years ago. However, she is alert, remembers the recent past i.e. who visited her, what the conversation was, can follow a TV program, reads the Sunday paper. etc. She has memory lapses about 25% of the time and occasionally has some wild stories to tell us...(she was on a plane or in a barn). I think she has a form of senile dementia not alzheimers. Ideas/comments?


I just came across this article here on Aging Care that might be helpful.
Dementia is a description, or a symptom. It's like the words "fever" or "diarrhea" in that it doesn't reveal the cause. Alzheimers is a specific disease. I think the term senile dementia is no longer used.

You may be right that your mother doesn't have ALZ. There are a number of different dementias, like Parkinson's, Lewy Body, and vascular dementia. It's important to be sure the diagnosis is correct, because treatment for one condition can harm someone with a different condition.

Some people progress very rapidly with ALZ (or other diseases.) Others progress very slowly. People typically live 8 years after diagnosis, but can live for 20 years.

Remembering recent events suggests that she is progressing very slowly, or that she may have a different condition. Don't be too hard on the doctor. It's hard to tell the difference in early stages.
thanks for y our comments and article link. I am not trying to "dis" the doctors..but I also wondered if I was in denial re: her diagnosis. Her sister had AlZ. and I saw the progression of the disease which was devastating. Mom is nothing like that. I don't think it is Parkinson's or Lewy Body ( I had a friend who had that and she is nothing like that). So I guess we just need to be patient and track any symptoms that come up and deal with them at that point.
Who are your mother's caregivers, Betty?

I think your approach is spot on, mind. But I wouldn't worry too much about what loose labels people attach to your mother's condition as long as it isn't important - in a legal or medical context, for example.

In home, hospital and rehab settings, I was constantly surprised - not to say dismayed - at how superficial the understanding of some supposedly trained health care professionals was. It didn't matter much in practice, because most of them were still perfectly good at whatever they were specifically supposed to be doing (e.g. occupational therapy, personal care, general supervision); but I did find it baffling that an occupational therapist could appear to be familiar only with one presentation of dementia, and not have a brilliant grasp even of that.

The saying is "if you know one person with dementia, you know one person with dementia." There is so much variation among individuals even with the same underlying disease that, to be fair, it's asking quite a lot to expect your average HCA to be technically up to speed on all of them.

Still! - it would be nice to see more of a willingness to learn, no?
The diagnosis came from the Hospice staff. (RN/MD). Mom's doctor at the facility is not as certain as they are. However, Mom is no longer in hospice care. ( She improved and did not meet criteria for the program. ) As I mentioned earlier, I was trying to be realistic and not be in denial about her diagnosis. I am her POA and health care proxy and want to be certain of what is going on so I can advocate for her and her best interests. Her recent mental clarity had me wondering. Thank you all for your comments. I will continue to wait and see what develops.

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