Alzheimer’s disease is often misunderstood. When a family member gets diagnosed with the disease, it can be an overwhelming experience with lots of unanswered questions. Finding answers to these questions can help put families at ease and take away the fear of the unknown. Dementia remains an enigmatic and widely misunderstood disease but new strides are being made every day around the world to better understand and help people with the condition live fulfilling lives regardless.

Here are some of the frequently asked questions around dementia and Alzheimer’s to help you understand the condition better:

1. What is the difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that affects the memory, thinking and behaviour of the individual. Dementia often refers to the broader term for conditions that negatively affect a person’s memory, thinking and behaviour thereby interfering with everyday tasks and living. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases. Although symptoms of the two conditions may overlap, distinguishing them is important for management and treatment. You can find out more about Alzheimer’s on our blog.

2. What are the signs that someone has dementia?

Everyone experiences the condition differently and symptoms may differ between people. One of the most common signs of dementia, especially in the early stage, is forgetting recently learned information.  However, memory loss is not the only common symptom of dementia. People with dementia often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes they may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favourite game. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. We’ve put together the 10 warning signs and symptoms of dementia.

3. Will dementia patients forget their loved ones?

In the early stages, memory loss may be very slight, however as time progresses the person with dementia will deal with more serious cases of memory loss. The person with dementia may be aware of and frustrated by their difficulty to recall events, make decisions or process what was said by others. A person with dementia in its later stages may not remember family members, may forget relationships and call family members by other names. They may even forget the use of common items. While they may forget, it’s important to remember that they’ll always require your support and understanding to make going through these changes easier.

4. How to take care of Alzheimer’s patients at home?

Home care for people with dementia can often be a frustrating situation for both parties. The carer needs to learn about the illness, how to treat it, how to provide the right kind of environment that is safe and suited to someone with the disease, and how to find the right doctors and therapists. While the person with dementia will have to deal with becoming increasingly forgetful and start to become more unsettled and anxious. This could lead to a tense home environment.

Simple ways to better take of dementia patients at home include:

  • Scheduling their daily routines – Setting a daily routine with tasks, such as bathing or a medical appointment, are best set when the person is alert and refreshed.

  • Involving the person in tasks – Try to allow the person with dementia to complete as many tasks as they can without too much assistance. This can be done by laying visual cues on how tasks can be done or, in the example of clothing, by placing clothes in the order they go on.

  • Limiting distractions – Try to minimize distractions such as a Tv when it’s mealtime or during conversation to make it easier for the person with dementia to concentrate


5. When is the right time to place a loved one with dementia in a long-term dementia care facility?

This is different for every patient and caregiver. Whilst there are many nursing homes, retirement villages and frail care options available for seniors, people living with memory loss disorders need specialised dementia care that only a dementia and Alzheimer’s care facility can offer. There are no downsides to placing a loved one into a facility too soon, but there are many risks in waiting for too long. If your loved one requires a higher level of specialised dementia care, but you decide to wait, the number of things that could potentially go wrong are endless. 

The treatment of Alzheimer’s and dementia requires special dementia care staff. Carers in Alzheimer’s and dementia care facilities need to have ongoing training to be kept up to date with new developments in treatments aimed at helping those with memory-related illness. 

If you’re looking for a specialised dementia and Alzheimer’s care facility, Livewell offers people with dementia the opportunity to be well taken care of and to participate in activities in a safe and stimulating environment. For more information about your dementia care options please email [email protected].