Dementia & Alzheimer’s: What is the difference?


Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is an example.

Dementia is not a specific disease. It is an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.

There are many conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia, including some that are reversible, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.

Dementia is often incorrectly referred to as “senility” or “senile dementia.” When people refer to it in this way, they usually assume, incorrectly, that dementia and serious mental decline is a normal part of aging. This often leads people to a passive position and belief that nothing can be done. In many cases that is simply not true but leads to the growth rate of dementia.

There are many forms of dementia

  • Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. At the current rate, 60% – 80% of people with dementia will develop Alzheimer’s disease.