To be a good caregiver, knowing the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s myths and facts is necessary. Because there is still a lot we don’t understand about them, it is not surprising that myths and misinformation have spread, and you need to be aware of them.
Myth: Herbal Supplements Can Cure Alzheimer’s
Fact: There are a lot of herbal products and supplements which claim to cure Alzheimer’s, but there is no scientific or medical evidence to support them. These herbal supplements have been the subject of a lot of studies but no definitive conclusion has been reached yet. It is unlikely these supplements will cause side effects that affect their behavior, but there is no evidence these herbs can help.
Myth: Dementia and Alzheimer are One and the Same
Fact: The two are not the same.
Dementia is not classified as a specific disease, but a collection of indicators that are linked to a decline or loss of reasoning, thinking and memory. Those with dementia encounter problems performing daily routines that they have been doing all their lives.
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common types of dementia. It is progressive, irreversible and progressive. The exact cause is unknown and there is no cure. The need for home care for Alzheimer’s is it robs the person of their memory, leading to disorientation, confusion, memory loss and personality changes. These symptoms usually manifest during the middle and late stages of the disease.
Myth: If a Family Member Has Alzheimer’s, You Will Get it Too
Fact: This is not true. Yes, some types of dementia have a genetic element, but this does not mean you’re going to have one as well. Even if your parent or sibling has developed this condition, you can take steps to prevent it from happening to you. You can reduce your risk for instance, by living a healthy lifestyle, exercising and sticking to a healthy diet.
This doesn’t guarantee you won’t end up with dementia, but your risk goes down. By controlling your blood pressure and keeping your cholesterol at normal levels, you’ll be in better shape.
Myth: Red Wine is a Preventive Measure against Dementia
Fact: Home health aides are sometimes asked if red wine is good for people with Alzheimer’s, but it’s not. There are health benefits associated with red wine, but the amount consumed in typical social drinking is not enough to make a difference. Red wine contains a chemical known as resveratrol which offers some protective benefits. However, you need to drink about two dozen a night, which isn’t good for anyone whether they have dementia or not.
Myth: Head Injuries Cause Alzheimer’s
Fact: This myth is very persistent but again there is no conclusive proof yet. Certainly concussions among young and middle age people are a concern, but it is too early to link it linked to dementia. There are medical researchers who believe that concussions and other types of head injuries could lead to dementia, but until there is evidence to support this, it cannot be considered factual.
Myth: There is Nothing That Can be Done if a Person has Dementia
Fact: Dementia and Alzheimer’s are progressive and up to now there is no cure. However, it would be wrong to say that nothing can be done. With proper care and medication, it is possible to make up for the decline in a person’s cognitive functions. With the combination of medicine and personal care, it is possible to help a person deal with the symptoms. One of the keys is making sure the person is as physically and mentally active as possible.
Myth: Drug Use Leads to Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Fact: There is no evidence to support this claim. Drug abuse is unhealthy in many other ways, but there are not enough facts to support the view drug use in any way makes a person more vulnerable. More research is necessary.
As an in-home care expert, part of your responsibility is answering questions from family members concerning the disease. Doctors should have the final word of course, but knowing the facts and myths can go far in informing family members and putting their minds at ease.
For more tips on Alzheimer's Disease or dementia or caregiving in general, visit our blog.
Home Helpers of San Juan Capistrano is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including home care assistance, personal care, companion care, respite care, Alzheimer's & dementia care as well as homemaker services in San Juan Capistrano, Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo, Aliso Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, and Ladera Ranch.