Contact Us | Call for your FREE in-home assessment 781-245-1880

Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness

The terms “Dementia” and “Alzheimer’s Disease” are often used interchangeably but, even though they are related, they should be viewed separately. Dementia is not a specific disease, rather, it is a generic term for cognitive decline and mental impairment that impacts an individual’s daily life and ability to accomplish tasks that were once familiar and second nature to them. On the other hand, Alzheimer’s is a specific degenerative brain disease caused by complex brain changes following damage to the cells. The earliest sign of Alzheimer’s is short-term memory loss because the disease primarily affects the area of the brain associated with learning first and foremost. This explains why it becomes increasingly difficult for individuals with early on-set Alzheimer’s to remember and learn new information or understand new commands.

According to the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and the third leading cause of death in older adults. While it begins with short-term memory loss, Alzheimer’s symptoms worsen over time to include disorientation, confusion and even behavioral and personality changes. Though there is no cure for Alzheimer’s at this point, certain steps can be taken to halt the progression and worsening of symptoms.

The seven pillars for a brain-healthy lifestyle include:

  1. Regular Exercise
  2. Social Engagement
  3. Maintaining a Healthy Diet
  4. Mental Stimulation
  5. Quality Sleep
  6. Stress Management
  7. Vascular Health

Treatments at a glance

Treats cognitive symptoms (memory and thinking)

Name (Generic / Brand) Approved for... Side Effects
Donepezil / Aricept® Mild to severe dementia due to Alzheimer’s Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, muscle cramps and increased frequency of bowel movements.
Galantamine / Razadyne® Mild to moderate dementia due to Alzheimer’s Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and increased frequency of bowel movements.
Rivastigmine / Exelon® Mild to moderate dementia due to Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and increased frequency of bowel movements.
Memantine / Namenda® Moderate to severe dementia due to Alzheimer’s Headache, constipation, confusion and dizziness.
Memantine + Donepezil / Namzaric® Moderate to severe dementia due to Alzheimer’s Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, increased frequency of bowel movements, headache, constipation, confusion and dizziness.

Treats non-cognitive symptoms (behavioral and psychological)

Name (Generic / Brand) Approved for... Side Effects
Suvorexant / Belsomra® Insomnia in people living with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease Impaired alertness and motor coordination, worsening of depression or suicidal thinking, complex sleep behaviors, sleep paralysis, compromised respiratory function.

For more information on Alzheimer’s Disease and other treatment and caregiver info, visit www.alz.org.

While memory loss is a common symptom of both Dementia and Alzheimer’s, it is important to understand that forgetfulness is a normal part of aging. We all forget things sometimes and this seems to happen more often as we age. If you are feeling like you are becoming more forgetful- don’t panic as it could just be a normal part of aging! However, it is always a good idea to talk to your Primary Care Physician if you are concerned about your well-being and/or if you notice patterns of behavior that are out of the ordinary for you or your loved one. In addition, there are clinics all over the state that remain focused on Alzheimer’s research and offer FREE memory screenings.

While memory loss is a common symptom of both Dementia and Alzheimer’s, it is important to understand that forgetfulness is a normal part of aging.

If you or your loved one have been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and needs additional help at home, give ABC a call- we have specially trained caregivers that can help provide exceptional care to that special person in your life!