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Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea: A Delightful Celebration of Love
Saturday, May 11th 1:30pm-3:30pm. Click HERE & RSVP Today!
Open Mobile Menu

Is it Dementia or Alzheimer’s? Clarifying the Differences for a Clearer Picture

The Kensington Falls Church held a compelling event this spring focused on understanding dementia titled, “Lewy Body Dementia, Parkinson’s & Alzheimer’s: Similarities and Differences”.

Our guest speakers included:

Whether you’re a caregiver, family member, or professional, you’ll find valuable knowledge reading the insights that were shared into the latest treatments, including Leqembi, recently approved for early-stage Alzheimer’s.

Our promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own.

Is Alzheimer’s and dementia the same disease?

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are terms often used interchangeably, but they represent different diseases.

Understanding the distinctions between them is necessary for accurate diagnosis and treatment.

Dementia explained

Dementia is an umbrella term that describes a range of symptoms affecting memory, thinking, and social abilities severely enough to interfere with daily functioning.

Dementia isn’t a specific disease, but a group of conditions characterized by the impairments of two brain functions, such as memory loss and judgment.

Causes of dementia can be varied, including Alzheimer’s disease (which is a form of dementia), vascular dementia caused by strokes, Lewy body dementia caused by Lewy body proteins, and others such as frontotemporal dementia or Huntington’s disease.

Alzheimer’s explained

Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of all cases.

It’s a progressive neurological disorder that leads to the death of brain cells (neurons) and a total decline in memory and mental function.

The cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not completely understood but is characterized by the presence of amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brain.

What’s the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?

Both diseases share overlapping symptoms, however, there are key differences:

Alzheimer’s disease:

  • A specific type of dementia
  • Caused by amyloid plaques and tau tangles
  • Characterized by progressive memory loss
  • Predictable pattern of progression


  • An umbrella term for brain disorders that affect memory and thinking
  • Can be caused by various factors (e.g., vascular issues, Alzheimer’s disease)
  • Symptoms vary widely, including memory loss and other cognitive impairments
  • Varies in progression and outcome based on the underlying cause

What is Lewy body dementia? How is it different from Parkinson’s disease dementia?

Lewy body dementia (LBD) and Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) are both neurodegenerative disorders with some overlapping symptoms but distinct characteristics and progression patterns.

Lewy body dementia explained

LBD is caused by abnormal protein deposits in the brain called “Lewy bodies,” which affect dopamine production in the brain and lead to problems with thinking, behavior, mood, and movement.

LBD is generally characterized into two types:

  1. Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)
  2. Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD)

The distinction between these is in the timing of the symptom onset.

In Lewy body dementia, cognitive symptoms such as problems with thinking, memory, visual perception, and problem-solving occur a year before movement issues.

Hallucinations and REM sleep behavior disorder are common early symptoms.

Additionally, rigidity and slow movement in the muscles also appear but are not the initial symptoms.

Parkinson’s disease dementia explained

Parkinson’s disease dementia typically occurs in the later stages of Parkinson’s disease, a condition known for its movement symptoms, such as tremors, stiffness, and slowness of movement.

In PDD, cognitive decline becomes more prominent after years after the onset of movement symptoms.

Key differences between LBD and PDD

Typically with LBD, cognitive and physical symptoms occur at the same time, whereas with PDD, motor symptoms emerge first, with cognitive challenges happening years after movement challenges.

An additional hallmark of LBD is more pronounced fluctuations in cognitive abilities, with variations in attention and alertness from hour to hour or day to day.

The latest advancements in Alzheimer’s treatment: Leqembi

Currently, treatments for dementia primarily focus on symptom management, such as controlling moods or tremors, but don’t offer a cure for most forms of dementia.

However, when it comes to the treatment of Alzheimer’s, a newly FDA-approved IV fusion treatment called Leqembi, shows promise for clearing amyloid-beta proteins from the brain.

Clinical trials have suggested that Leqembi infusion treatments every two weeks can slow down the progression of the disease in its early stages.

This treatment is one of the first medications to treat or halt the progression rather than just managing its symptoms.

To be eligible for Leqembi, one must be enrolled in Medicare and be diagnosed with mild cognitive importance of early-stage Alzheimer’s with evidence of amyloid plaque in the brain.

A diagnosis of early-stage Alzheimer’s requires that patients undergo the standard cognitive evaluation with a neurologist and have an amyloid-PET scan or spinal tap to detect amyloid proteins in the brain.

When home care isn’t enough: memory care and senior living

Helping a loved one who’s struggling with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or dementia is mentally and physically challenging, and can lead to caregiver burnout.

You’ve been there, doing your best, but perhaps you feel like you’re beginning to go in over your head caring for your loved one with a neurodegenerative disease.

Enter a senior living community such as The Kensington Falls Church. Here, your Mom, Dad, or spouse can get the right medication at the right time, listen to their favorite song, or hang out with a group of like-minded and abled companions.

Memory care communities offer both a safe and secure environment with increased supervision but also offer laughter, connections, and small victories on tough days.

It’s about professional hands doing the heavy lifting for you, so you can get the chance to be the son or daughter again, not the sole caregiver.

Find peace and purpose at The Kensington Falls Church

At The Kensington Falls Church, we understand the challenges you face as a caregiver with a loved one living with Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, and related conditions.

Our specialized assisted living and memory care neighborhoods (Connections and Haven) are designed to offer more than just care — we provide a life of dignity and joy where every resident can ‘age in place’ even if their healthcare needs change.

Our Connections neighborhood is suited for loved ones in the early to middle stages of dementia. Haven is for residents in the middle to late stages. Connections and Haven neighborhoods are cozy environments where residents feel comfortable and secure and where loving professionals accommodate the specific needs that accompany each stage in the progression of memory loss.

Our community ensures your loved one enjoys chef-prepared meals anytime, benefits from on-site rehabilitation and medicare care, and stays engaged with enriching activities.

Join our family at The Kensington Falls Church. Experience a community that extends beyond care to nurturing a life full of purpose.

Don’t wait—contact us today to see the difference we can make in your loved one’s life.

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