Dementia vs Alzheimer’s

11 Apr

I wanted to expand yesterday’s blog on Alzheimer’s. I feel like I touched on the subject and after a comment made by Joe Rivera, I realized that there was more. His father Oscar has Dementia and if you ask the average person what the difference is between Dementia and Alzheimer’s, they won’t have a clue. We hear these terms thrown around and I would like to elaborate on them.
According to Dr. Bob DeMarco in his blog dementia is a symptom of Alzheimer’s like a fever is a symptom of something wrong with your body, dementia is a symptom of something wrong with your brain.
Dr. DeMarco is careful to say that not all dementia turns into Alzheimer’s, but most of it does. There are different kinds of dementia and as Joe Rivera describes his father, it can be just as heartbreaking to loved ones as Alzheimer’s disease. Both allow you to witness the progressive decline of your loved ones mentality. It is as if you don’t know this person and they don’t know you. I know Joe, and have met his father. I know that Joe and his brother have done everything in their power to assist their father as his health declines.
My ideas about the disease have evolved enormously. At first I thought that I could trigger memory by making her do things that she used to do before slowly slipping away from us. I was trying everything to jog her memory. I have come to realize that this is very much like handling a baby, only the opposite. A baby improves motor and cognitive skills, my mother won’t. The baby will eventually walk, talk, and eat on his own. My mother will decline in her abilities. The baby is prepared to live; my mother is preparing to die.
I acknowledge that it is a bold statement regarding the process difference of coming into life and leaving life. I feel fortunate that I get to participate in this event, because I would hate to miss it only to regret it later because I didn’t know how much time we had. I don’t know how much time we have now, but I do know that it will happen with great certainty. We can all make this claim and that is why I say to care for your loved ones right now. None of us know when this thing called life will end, but we know that it will. Live life to the fullest each day that you are given.
Dealing with either disease is challenging. It challenges everything that you know for sure. At times I think we could have it all wrong. It’s hard to tell sometimes if my mother is forgetting who she was, or remembering who she is. I’m not sure anymore.

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Posted by on April 11, 2012 in Uncategorized


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