Most of us have old people in our lives, be it our grandparents or even our own parents. We hear them saying that they are forgetting even the smallest of things. Many times we attribute this to old age and say that they are growing old so are forgetting. Though this may be one of the reasons, not always is it due to old age. There are many reasons for memory loss in old age. However, there is confusion between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease too.
To make a lay man understand the difference between the two, we can take the example of fever. We can say dementia is like fever and Alzheimer’s disease is like what cause fever. In others words, we can say, dementia is like a symptom and the cause of that symptom is called Alzheimer’s disease. When we talk about dementia, we are talking about loss of memory and the problems associated with it. There are many reasons why this can occur. Dementia usually occurs in old age and it is associated with elder people. Some may experience just a mild stage, were as there are others who have reached a very severe stage and are not able to do any of their daily routine normally. In fact, they are not able to lead a normal life. Everything is like a state of confusion for them.
When we have elder people at home and they complain about forgetting even the small things, it is better not to neglect it and instead get them checked for dementia, so that we could help them out of this situation. And as the saying goes, “Prevention is better than Cure”, so also is the case here. People who have dementia, have a problem with their cognitive works like planning, organizing, remembering things, distorted speech and attention and even problem solving tasks. They do not know what they have to do next. These things are usually noticeable and impact their normal life.
In most of the cases, dementia is not curable; or rather we cannot reverse the causes. If the cause is due to some medication or because of some psychological reason, then sometimes it can be rectified. One of the main reasons of dementia in old age is Alzheimer’s disease. Due to the degeneration of the brain cells because of old age, the person’s memory and cognitive ability is affected and in majority of the cases, it is the cause of dementia. More than 50% of the older people suffer from dementia and the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease increase with people over the age of 85 years.
In United States, they have noticed that most of the people live with Alzheimer’s disease and they give lot of importance to the care and treatment of this. In our country, in the recent years, there has been an increased awareness and there is lot of research and study being conducted in both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and people are approaching for medical assistance. Even the social organizations, who work for the benefit of old aged people, are coming forward to help them cope with this disorder, because in some of the cases, we see that the family members neglect them, and this leads to more psychological impact on them.
However, it has to be noted, that both these conditions are not a part of process of aging. It occurs due to various psychological (ex: shock), physiological (ex: degeneration of the brain cells) or physical (ex: injury to the brain due accidents) reasons. Both can be very drastic if not attended to early and so an early diagnosis and medical support is must.