Alzheimer’s and Dementia: What’s the Difference?

The Alzheimer’s Society of Canada describes dementia as “A term used to describe a set of symptoms or behaviours that include memory loss, difficulty with problem- solving, and changes in mood and behaviour.” Therefore, dementia is broader term for a wide range of memory concerns, and is caused by a wide range of medical conditions associated with changes in the brain. This may eventually lead to impaired memory, changes in thought, mood, and emotions, and a diminished ability to problem solve. However, some causes of dementia can be treated and reversed.

Some treatable causes are:

• Infections

• Depression

• Dehydration

• Thyroid disease

• Hormone imbalance

• Vitamin deficiency

• Medication interactions

• Poorly controlled diabetes

The Alzheimer’s Association describes Alzheimer’s disease as the most common form of dementia. Each individual will progress through the disease differently, but everyone will experience changes in the way their brain works and thinks.

Warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease:

• Memory loss affecting day-to-day abilities

• Difficulty completing familiar tasks

• Problems with language

• Confusion regarding time and place

• Difficulty with judgment and planning

• Difficulty understanding previously understood concepts

• Misplacing items

• Changes in mood and behaviour

• Changes in personality

• Loss of interest in tasks normally enjoyed

Family Resource: What To Remember When They Don’t Remember

This brief guide is intended to provide some helpful tips for the family and friends of individuals living in the Memory Care Neighbourhoods at Aster Gardens. Remember, you are just as important to us as your loved one is in our community, so feel free to drop by and say hello and remember to follow these ‘A S T E R’ tips.

ASK: We strive to ensure that each visit is comfortable and memorable for you and your loved ones, so have a chat with us about how we may be able to help. It is important for you to understand how your loved one has been doing, when they may be needing extra attention, and who or what they have been asking for. 

• Come prepared with family photos, memorable items, or flowers to create a positive interaction and spark positive communication. 
• If you are bringing a younger child or grandchild, be sure to help them prepare as well. We are happy to help guide you in this process.

SUPPORT: Family involvement and participation is important in Memory Care. Your loved one needs your support. They may not be able to remember your name, but you are still familiar to them. Being actively present provides them with safety, warmth, and love.

TIME: Past, present, and future. This is the time to connect and engage with your loved one. Together, you will experience a good laugh, a good cry, and share moments. Engaging in activities that stimulate the senses helps challenge the brain to make connections to memories, so feel free to visit designated Aster Gardens lounges to paint, play a game, or read a book with your loved one.

EXPERIENCE: Experience the moment. Whether you are a family member, friend, pastor, visitor, or volunteer, this is an opportunity to create an experience with your loved one. Each interaction will be different; therefore, it is important that you listen, learn, and be present in your visit. Create a genuine human connection through empathy, compassion, love, and respect.

REMEMBER: Your visit, full of love and connection, is a special time for you and your loved one. How you and your loved one feel during your visit is important. Your care and involvement are recognized and supported by care partners. Social connection and maintaining meaningful relationships with families helps care partners gather crucial information about the resident and their needs.

Memory Care Assessment Take this assessment to see whether Memory Care is right for you or your loved one.
A senior man looking through a book with a young man

Other Resources