AGI is a hopeful place for people affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s can be upsetting and frightening. Because Alzheimer’s disease is degenerative and incurable, individuals who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and the family and friends who care about and for them may feel that the situation is hopeless. It need not be.

At AGI, we believe that surrounding each Alzheimer’s family with a caring and knowledgeable community of counsellors, recreation and art therapists, mentors and qualified personnel within a supportive environment are crucial factors to enjoying a life touched by Alzheimer’s.

AGI strives to be a compassionate and hopeful place, both online and in our “brick and mortar” office, for all those touched by Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

An Introduction

If an Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia diagnosis is new in your life, you may feel overwhelmed by the language used by medical professionals to describe the illness, the way it’s diagnosed, and its symptoms. What you know about Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia might be influenced by the negative messages and stereotypes that are pervasive in media and popular culture.

In this section, we’ll give you the facts and explain the jargon so you can have an informed dialogue about the disease.
  • What is Dementia?

    Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a syndrome, or cluster of symptoms, that are present in a number of different, but similar, brain illnesses. These symptoms can include impairments to memory, speech, communication and perception, poor judgment, difficulty concentrating, learning new information and carrying out complex tasks, concrete thinking, personality and mood changes, confusion and disorientation.

    Dementia is a term that tells you the doctor has noticed changes to the way the brain is thinking. It does not tell you what is causing those changes. Dementia symptoms can be caused by a variety of illnesses, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s disease.

    Other dementia illnesses are called “related disorders or related dementias”. These include, but are not limited to, Vascular Dementia, Fronto-temporal dementia (FTD) and Pick’s disease, Lewy-Body disease, Parkinson’s disease and Korsakoff’s syndrome.

    Alzheimer Groupe (AGI) can help - whether the cause of the dementia is Alzheimer’s, a related disorder, or if it is still unknown.
  • What is Alzheimer’s?

    - Description
    Alzheimer’s disease is the most common illness that causes dementia symptoms. While what causes Alzheimer’s is unknown, doctors are getting better at identifying biomarkers, the bodily signs that early symptoms of dementia are caused by Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s damages brain cells, causing changes in the way the brain remembers, thinks, processes information, communicates and manages emotions. The medical community does not know why or how those changes occur - the illness remains degenerative (it gets worse over time) and incurable (there is no cure).

    - Disease process
    The onset (how the symptoms start to appear) is gradual and subtle. Typically, family members and (less commonly) the person experiencing the Alzheimer’s, begin to notice small changes in memory, emotions, or perception months or years before the diagnosis. Those subtle signs are often ignored or chalked up to age, stress, or fatigue. If this is the case for your family, please remember the old adage that “hindsight is 20/20.” It would have been difficult, at the time, to understand the significance of those early signs. If, however, you are concerned about changes you have noticed in yourself of a loved-one, you should consult your family doctor as soon as possible. For more information on the importance of early diagnosis and the diagnostic process click here.

    How quickly the brain degenerates is highly variable, with life expectancy after diagnosis ranging from months to decades. How the disease progresses for each individual is unknown. Factors such as the age at onset, gender, severity of symptoms and general physical health tend to have an effect on the prognosis.

    At AGI, we believe that with so many variables to a prognosis after a diagnosis, our focus needs to be on living, and living well, with Alzheimer’s disease.