When people ask me if my mom has Dementia or Alzheimer’s, I just smile and say, YES.
It is Dementia.
And it is Alzheimer’s.
Then they ask, “Isn’t there a patch for that?” Or, “How did she get it?” Or, “She has kind of been acting weird.”
And my smile turns into a GRRR.
Then I school them.
Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia
Caring.com puts it this way, “The term dementia is used broadly to describe a condition which is characterized by cognitive decline, but there are many different types of dementia.”
When I asked my mom’s neurologist which type he thought she had, he answered, “Does it really matter? They all have similar symptoms and end the same way.”
At first I was taken aback but the truth is, at her age, it probably doesn’t matter. There is no cure. It just runs it course. (If you suspect Early Onset Alzheimer’s, I’d ask for more testing.)
The Alzheimer’s Association states, “Dementia is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is caused by physical changes in the brain.”
It’s possible to have more than one type of Dementia
Shortly after Robin’s William’s death, it was reported that he had Parkinson’s. The truth is, he also had Lewy Bodies. It’s not possible to diagnose LBD until an autopsy is performed, so most likely he never suspected, though his family may have due to his odd behavior.
Sadly, I read some pretty disparaging remarks about him from people who didn’t understand the symptoms of LBD. I’m not condoning his final choice, but no one will ever know if he was hallucinating at the time and/or if he really knew what he was doing.
Families suffer undo rude remarks from people who remain ignorant. Let’s make an effort to speak intelligibly about Dementia.
Have I left off any types of Dementia? Have you heard received any unfriendly naive comments?
Don’t be afraid to school them.