What is Dementia Like?

While I would not presume to say that all people dealing with dementia in their families see the answer as the same as mine, I have been asked that question several times.  I have been dealing with it now for about 3 years. While some see dementia as a slowly approaching infirmity with plenty of warning, that may be the case for some.

My wife had some memory problems for some time but more of an aggravation and sometimes humorous condition but with a person who could still drive, answer the phone, make a phone call, balance a checkbook, buy groceries, use a computer and carry on a normal conversation and function as a “normal” person.

In her case, this changed from Wednesday to Friday of the same week in a dramatic downturn. I have described it as flipping a switch.

How do I describe dementia?

  • Imagine a set of encyclopedias setting on a shelf.
  • Then imagine taking all of those volumes and running them through a big shredder.
  • Put the shredded material in a large 55 gallon drum.

Now you have a description of dementia.

All the information is still in the 55 gallon drum. It is just hard to find it, connect it to the situation of the moment, and to use it. It is not lost.





Here is another site that has a lot of info on Dementia/Alzheimer’s. More attention is being paid to the role of, and the strain on, caregivers. A lot of illnesses and handicaps can be difficult and I would not want to get into an argument or debate as to  “my family member’s disease is worse than your family member’s disease.”

But, few illnesses and handicaps rob you of as much as those that not only eliminate your ability to do something, like walking or picking up a spoon, but knowing how to do the simplest thing like brushing your teeth, putting on your pajamas or setting the timer on the microwave. 

While many of life’s ailments reduce mobility, etc. dementia and Alzheimer’s rob you of who you are. There is no yesterday or tomorrow. There is no “hour from now.”  There is only “this moment.” And there has to be a confined, safe, and familiar environment with close supervision that then robs the caregiver of their time and life too.

I have helped care for Brain Tumor ( inoperable cancer ), stroke, heart attack, and diabetic patients in the past few years. Patients that could not walk or take care of their homes, drive, etc. The worst is the loss of familiarity, communication, and normal interaction. And watching the person become another person, not only  a person with a physical abnormality. And the care giver is dragged into that same world.

By  H Jerome Chapman

Dementia is an awful condition. Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can  be a long, stressful, and intensely emotional journey. In the United States, there are about 15 million people caring for someone with dementia, and millions of others around the world. There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, and only limited medical treatments available.

According to Alzheimer’s Association

“Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the United States that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed.”

If you would like to know more about this subject, you can visit:


The article below is from their website.

Do You Know The Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Home > Resources > Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are often used interchangeably as many people believe that one means the other. In fact, the distinction between the two diseases often causes confusion on the behalf of patients, families and caregivers. Discover how the two diagnoses, while related, are remarkably different.
Alzheimer’s and dementia are still a mystery in many ways. This is why the two similar diseases are often mixed up in every day conversation and understanding. According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), Dementia is a brain disorder that affects communication and performance of daily activities and Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that specifically affects parts of the brain that control thought, memory and language.

Read on to discover more particulars on how the two diseases vary and why there’s still a lot of scientific research needed—as well as public awareness—around these world-wide epidemics.

What is dementia?

Dementia is an umbrella term for a set of symptoms including impaired thinking and memory. It is a term that is often associated with the cognitive decline of aging. However, issues other than Alzheimer’s can cause dementia. Other common causes of dementia are Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

According to the Center for Disease Control, Alzheimer’s disease is a common cause of dementia causing as many as 50 to 70% of all dementia cases. In fact, Alzheimer’s is a very specific form of dementia. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s include impaired thought, impaired speech, and confusion. Doctors use a variety of screenings to determine the cause of dementia including blood tests, mental status evaluations and brain scans.

How Are They Different?

When a person is diagnosed with dementia, they are being diagnosed with a set of symptoms. This is similar to someone who has a sore throat. Their throat is sore but it is not known what is causing that particular symptom. It could be allergies, strep throat, or a common cold. Similarly, when someone has dementia they are experiencing symptoms without being told what is causing those symptoms.

Another major difference between the two is that Alzheimer’s is not a reversible disease. It is degenerative and incurable at this time. Some forms of dementia, such as a drug interaction or a vitamin deficiency, are actually reversible or temporary.

Once a cause of dementia is found appropriate treatment and counseling can begin. Until a proper diagnosis is made, the best approach to any dementia is engagement, communication and loving care.

The Need for More Public Awareness and Research Funding

While the differences between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are clear to families dealing with the diseases, more public awareness is needed to differentiate between the two. Further understanding of what exactly causes Alzheimer’s disease will help to clear any confusion and hopefully lead to better treatments plans and, ultimately, a cure.

Source URLS:

  • Mayo Clinic
  • Alzheimer’s Reading Room
  • Live Science

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