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My mother forgets where she's living and wants to go home. She asks if she needs to go to school or work. Is her dementia becoming Alzheimers?

I suppose people look at it in different ways. As I started to read about dementia, I think of it in this way: If a person has Alzhiemers, as it progresses, it will cause dementia. If a person has Parkinson's Disease, it can cause them to develop dementia. And so on. In the early stages of a condition like Alzheimers the patient has the disease, but, it may be years before they develop dementia, meaning they are so affected that their memory and abilities to function is significantly reduced.

A discussion with her doctor might help answer some questions. They might also check her out to see if she has something else like a UTI. Sometimes, that causes people to act unusual or have hallucinations. Any change in mental status should be reported to her doctor.
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Reply to Sunnygirl1
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The best way to look at theis disease is this: Picture dementia as an umbrella and there are many many strings hanging from the umbrella. These strings represent different types of dementias, Alzheimer's being the biggest group and there are many other types of dementias Frontal Temporal Dementia , vascular dementia and the list goes on a long way. Scientist have determined there are well over 80 different types of dementias but as I said Alzheimer's is the most prevalent type and the best known. Long term memories often take over as the disease invades the brain and impacts our short term memory which in part may be why she is asking about school and work. Those memories long ago create deep paths in our brain and they stick around even as other parts are harder to access and disappear. This is a terrible situation to watch and see your loved one slip away so I send you positive thoughts in your journey of caring. Acknowledge your Mother's feelings assure her she doesn't need to leave to go anywhere and all is fine. Trying to ask her to remember creates anxiety as she cant remember as the disease progresses some memories are just gone. Redirect her to talk about school what does she remember who were her friends what was her favorite part are good questions to keep her engaged redirect and decrease anxiety. I wish you the best
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Reply to DrLucy
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Witnessing the cognitive decline of a parent is always challenging. There's an article on this site with an overview of the different kinds of dementia, including Alzheimer's.
https://www.agingcare.com/articles/different-forms-of-dementia-138582.htm
I've read questions from others that come here wondering if it's important to understand or receive an exact diagnosis. I'm sure it's helpful to have some idea of what you're dealing with. However, I think it's important to understand that in all cases it's a progressive disease. So, like Countrymouse said, as caregivers what might be more important is finding techniques, strategies, and comfort measures that help get you through the more difficult stages of any form of dementia.
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Reply to onlychild22
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Hello!

Just looking at your profile, I'm amazed to see you set out on caregiving ten years ago. What you have to say about your mother and your stepfather is extremely touching, and you have done so well to keep them together so long.

Is this change in your mother sudden and recent? - I ask because if so it's always worth checking for acute infections and getting a medical opinion.

Not being oriented to place can be a sign of Alzheimer's Disease but I believe it's common in most forms of dementia whatever their cause. Have you and your mother's care team been able to reassure and comfort her? There are various techniques for doing that, as well as for distracting her onto other activities to divert her attention.

Is it okay to ask how your stepfather is getting on?
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Alzheimer’s is dementia. In fact, it is the most common form of the disease. There are several different types of dementia - some with specific symptoms and stages as well as overlapping and shared characteristics.

You might want to google for
more information regarding the differences.

Types of Dementia - most common but not limited to:

Alzheimer's.
Vascular dementia.
Lewy body dementia.
Parkinson's.
Frontotemporal.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob.
Wernicke-Korsakoff.
Mixed dementia.
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Reply to Rainmom
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