What is the Difference Between Alzheimer's and Dementia?

There is often confusion about the difference between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. As you learn more about symptoms, we encourage you to seek the advice of professionals who are here to help.


T  he Gardens at Columbine provides safe and serene outdoor spaces for your loved one to enjoy

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a general medical term for numerous cognitive impairments and diseases that affect people as they age. Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, but dementia encompasses a host of other illnesses as well, including Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and many others.

People often ask us: “What are the symptoms of dementia?” Beginning stages of dementia include:

  • Mild memory loss
  • Confusion related to time and place
  • Apathy and depression
  • Isolation from familiar social activities
  • Aphasia (trouble finding the right word in a conversation)
  • Inability to think abstractly

Dementia stages are hard to self-diagnose. Most people are hesitant to admit to themselves that their mind is becoming more limited, and there is generally a lot of denial surrounding dementia. Confronting the fact that your loved one may be suffering from the beginning stages of dementia is one of the best things you can do for him or her. And remember: at any of the dementia stages, there is professional help that can provide comfort, safety and quality of life to your loved one.

Abundant outdoor spaces offer a safe nurturing environment at  T  he Gardens at Columbine

What Is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disease that causes problems with memory, behavior, and cognition. It is most commonly diagnosed in people over the age of 65, but early-onset symptoms include the inability to remember recently acquired information (such as the name of someone you met only minutes before); trouble finding the right words and expressing oneself verbally; problems with abstract thinking and attentiveness and general apathy.

The late stages of Alzheimer’s usually require constant care and include symptoms like: wandering, sudden changes in mood, difficulty constructing sentences, irritability and sudden aggressiveness, loss of long-term memory, and loss of complex motor skills like walking.

The Gardens at Columbine treasures the opportunity to provide loving care for those with Alzheimer’s disease. We hope to honor those individuals through the late stages and end of life. Partnering with hospice teams allows our residents to remain in their Garden’s home.

If you think a loved one may be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, contact a physician to discuss the options.  As of yet, no cure for Alzheimer’s exists, but symptoms can be treated and quality of life can rise with certain medications and treatments.

Find out more at the Alzheimer’s Association Colorado Chapter.