What Is the Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer's?


Debunking the myth that dementia and Alzheimer’s are the same. Learn how to differentiate between the two and ways that Sagecare can assist you.

Dementia vs Alzheimer’s

A common myth you might have heard is that “dementia and Alzheimer’s are the same thing.” But, that is not the case. Dementia is a general term that refers to a decline in mental stability. Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia. 

Learning the difference between dementia vs Alzheimer’s will enable you to identify if any of your loved ones live with any form of dementia. If a family member has been diagnosed with a form of dementia, you might have to look into dementia care providers. Memory care homes like Sagecare can assist you in the matter and reduce the stress of not knowing the difference. 

What is Dementia?

Dementia is a group of symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to think, remember, and make decisions. These interferences reduce the individual’s cognitive abilities and make them dependent on others. 

The best way to help out anyone living with dementia is for the caregiver to educate themselves. It is crucial to get a diagnosis before jumping to any conclusions. General forgetfulness does not mean that the person has dementia. It can be beneficial to consult dementia support specialists that offer a high level of personalized care for the highest level of care. 

What is Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s disease falls within the umbrella term dementia. It is the most form of dementia, and the number of people living with the disease doubles every five years. The factor that contributes most to the chances of developing Alzheimer’s is age.  

Family history and genes can also induce Alzheimer’s. Still, it is not as prevalent, and the individual at risk can control the chances with a healthy lifestyle. This step includes limited alcohol consumption, no smoking, and increased physical activity.

What Is the Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer's?

The main difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s is that dementia is not a particular disease. Instead, Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that causes memory impairment. Here are some ways to distinguish between the two:

  • There are over 400 types of dementia and only two types of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Alzheimer’s occurs when there is an abnormal build-up of proteins around brain cells. In contrast, dementia can develop more many more reasons, including blockage of blood vessels.
  • The main warning sign of Alzheimer’s is memory loss. But, there could be multiple other warning signs that indicate a person has dementia.

What Are the Similarities Between Dementia and Alzheimer's?

Despite the significant difference between Alzheimer's and dementia that separates the two terms, there are some similarities.

  • They are both associated with memory and decreased ability to make decisions.
  • None of them can be prevented with certainty.
  • Age is a contributing factor for both.
  • Some symptoms are similar, such as confusion and inability to handle finances.

Alzheimer’s vs Dementia Symptoms

There are some similarities in the symptoms, such as memory impairment and the inability to make decisions. However, there are also differences between Alzheimer's and dementia warning signs.

  • Other forms of dementia, such as Lewy Body can cause hallucinations, but people with Alzheimer’s usually do not face that.
  • Early stages of Alzheimer’s usually do not affect movement besides the ability to walk, but some other forms of dementia can cause involuntary movements. 
  • Depression could be another indicator of Alzheimer’s, but it is not necessarily a symptom of other forms of dementia.

Treating Alzheimer’s vs Dementia

There isn’t a vast difference between Alzheimer's and dementia treatment. There is no specific cure for either of the instances. In both cases, the seniors will most likely require dementia care services for a smoother process. Living in an elder care home with high staffing to resident ratio will enable the individual to attain specialized nursing care in a home-like setting.

  • Treating Alzheimer’s – Going through a multi-step assessment process to determine the severity and providing specialized care. 
  • Treating Dementia – More tests to understand which form of dementia the individual has and moving into a dementia care home.

The main difference between Alzheimer's and dementia treatment is the level of care that the individual needs. However, the following care steps are common in both cases.

  1. Specialized memory care
  2. Care plans for caregivers
  3. Medical alert bracelet
  4. Help managing finances 
  5. Checklist to track daily medicine
  6. Reminders to bathe and eat
  7. Sturdy handrails in bathrooms 

Other Types of Dementia

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. But, there are many other types of dementia that a person may have. Some of the most common ones are listed below.

  • Vascular – This occurs when there is a decline in thinking skills due to a block of blood flow reduction in various brain sections, reducing oxygen levels.
  • Lewy body – This type of progressive dementia happens when there is a clump of abnormal protein in the brain.
  • Frontotemporal – One of the other common types of dementia, where nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain get lost and shrinks.
  • Mixed – This occurs when an individual is diagnosed with two or more combinations of dementia. It is essential to look into home-like dementia facilities that the senior can potentially move into at a time like this. At Sagecare, our priority is to provide personalized care with the help of our registered nurses that treat all residents like family. 

A Post-Diagnosis Guide for Caregivers

If your parents, grandparents, or spouse have been diagnosed with any form of dementia, you will need to be well-informed about both cases to assist them better. If you notice any early signs of dementia, such as memory loss, confusion, or inability to make decisions, you need to take your loved one to the doctor. After the diagnosis, the doctor can guide you through the process and tell you exactly what level of care your family member needs.

In some cases, catching the early signs and taking action slows down the progress of several different forms of dementia. Now that you know the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s, it will be easier for you to provide care for your loved one. 


Request Information: Sagecare 147 Elder Street

All fields are required.

 Schedule a visit or virtual tour  Information  Send a brochure

I am looking for:  

Contact me by:
Message the residence (optional)

Comfort Life is a division of Our Kids Media™ ©2002-2021   •   Disclaimer: Information presented on this page may be paid advertising provided by the retirement care advertisers and is not warranted or guaranteecd by ComfortLife.ca or its associated websites.  •   See Terms and Conditions.

The Comfort Life eNewsletter

Sign up today to receive tips and advice on retirement living, retirement communities, home care and other services.

First Name:
Postal Code

Comfort Life

*Bonus: sign up and immediately receive a free digital edition of Comfort Life Retirement Living Guide

100 pages, featuring the top retirement communities and care with expert advice on choosing, financing and making the move.