Caregivers who care for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s face several challenges along their caregiving journey. However, not knowing about the conditions can make it difficult to provide the right level of care. Often people use dementia and Alzheimer’s interchangeably but the two are different. While dementia is an overall term for a decline in memory whereas Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia. Alzheimer’s is a disease while dementia is not a disease in its own right.
Over here we share some useful insights for caregivers on what makes Alzheimer’s different from dementia:
- Dementia is a syndrome while Alzheimer’s is a disease: Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are similar but they are not the same. Dementia is a syndrome term that is used for symptoms that affect the functioning of the brain. A syndrome describes a collection of symptoms whereas a disease has specific symptoms and a common cause. Alzheimer’s is a disease with a specific set of symptoms and a common cause.
- Alzheimer’s disease occurs in a specific part of the brain: The cause of dementia depends on the type, but the exact causes of many forms of dementia are currently unclear. Several different diseases may lead to dementia. Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells. These build-ups occur in specific areas of the brain.
- Alzheimer’s have specific symptoms, dementia doesn’t: Confusion, disorientation, memory problems and mood changes are some of the symptoms that are specific to Alzheimer’s disease. Anxiety and distress, low mood, detachment and disinterest and sleep disturbances are some of the many symptoms of dementia. Symptoms of dementia are not specific and may emerge years after the onset which makes it difficult to diagnose and treat.
- No treatment for dementia: Currently, there is no treatment for dementia and the condition cannot be reversed. The treatment for Alzheimer’s focuses on relieving symptoms. Dementia in general and Alzheimer’s disease in particular are progressive disorders with no available cures. The cognitive decline can adversely affect the patient’s quality of life. It is thus important for caregivers to help patients stay as independent as possible and provide assistance when needed.
Here are some tips for caregivers to manage daily tasks:
- Be flexible: Establishing a daily routine can be helpful in structuring the day. However, allow flexibility so that care is adapted to the needs, personality, habits, preferences cognitive limitations of the resident.
- Take your time: Take your time and take breaks during the tasks, if needed.
- Communicate clearly: The best way to make caregiving easy is to communicate in a way that the resident understands.
Managing medication administration in dementia care homes
Caring for seniors with dementia can be quite difficult and it is, for this reason, many dementia care homes in the UK are implementing eMAR. With electronic MAR sheet medication system the caregiving team won’t have to spend hours checking every MAR sheet every day or after every medication round. Since it’s paperless, the team doesn’t have to worry about illegible notes and missed signatures. Learn how eMAR can help you and your care home. To book a demo, get in touch with us.