Many people use the words Alzheimer’s and dementia as if they mean the same thing, but there is a difference, and the distinction can be confusing both for patients and their loved ones. To make it simple, dementia is a general term for a decline in mental abilities and Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia.
Dementia is a name for a group of problems that affect communication and everyday life. A person with dementia suffers a decline in memory or other thinking abilities. At least two of the following core functions must be impaired to call a condition dementia:
- Ability to focus and pay attention
- Language and communication
- Ability to reason
- Judgment and common sense
- Visual perception
Alzheimer’s disease makes up somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of dementia cases, and dementia associated with a stroke is the second most common form. Other sources of dementia can be as varied as Parkinson’s disease, a vitamin deficiency, depression, side effects from medications, or drug abuse. Some conditions that cause dementia can be reversed, and the sooner the person sees a doctor, the better.
Dementia is caused by physical damage to brain cells, decreasing their ability to communicate with each other. This in turn affects thinking, emotions, and behavior.
Common warning signs of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia include memory loss severe enough to disrupt everyday life, a decline in ability to follow a plan or understanding numbers, problems concentrating, and problems completing familiar tasks. Many lose track of dates and even seasons, or forget where they are.
Traveling with Dementia
In the early stages of dementia, whether caused by Alzheimer’s or something else, traveling can still be enjoyable. As the disease progresses many find traveling disorienting and unsettling. Stick to the familiar and make as few changes in daily routines as possible, and be extra observant while traveling, because changes in environment will cause confusion.
If you need help with long distance transportation, we have more than three decades’ experience with dementia and other medical conditions. We can offer comfortable and safe transports between states or even across the country. Call us at 800-311-3412 for more information!