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  • Dementia and Diagnosis

    People can get confused with all the terms used for illnesses these days.  For example, in eldercare I often here people say “I don’t have Dementia, I have Alzheimer’s Disease,” or “I would rather have Dementia than Alzheimer’s Disease.”  Therefore, I thought it would be helpful to explain the terms, along with some other ideas to think about.  Dementia is the general term used for many types of irreversible cognitive impairment .  Alzheimer’s Disease, Lewy Body Dementia, and Parkinson’s Disease, to name a few, are subtypes of Dementia.  Even if someone has Dementia, they are still the person they were years ago, but at times it is hard to see them in this way.  This is when people may tend to care for the individual rather then support and empower them to modify the ways they do things.  For example, if someone who is experiencing short-term memory loss is having a difficult time remembering a word, we are quick to tell them the word so they don’t feel embarrassed, frustrated, or uncomfortable.  I am not saying that is the wrong thing to do, but try to give them some time and then read their cues.  They may try to figure out the word, they may move on and brush over it, or they may look in your direction or even ask for the word.  If the latter happens, by all means, tell them the word.  Just try to always remember the old age, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”

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