Education about dementia care is vital for any dementia caregiver. One term that may be puzzling and is used frequently isdifferential diagnosis. When a patient is inthe assessment phase, aphysician, neurologist or a neuropsychologist may wish to conduct a differential diagnosis, which means looking at specific dementia symptoms to identify the specifictypeof dementia that the person has.
Why is this important to dementia caregivers? Knowing the specific type of dementia that a person has can greatly assist professional or family caregivers in understanding what to expect and how to help the person with dementia in his daily life. With the three most common forms of dementia: Alzheimer's Disease, Vascular/Multi-Infarct Dementia or Lewy Body Dementia, each dementia has a similiar but slightly different set of symptoms. The family member or other caregiver of the person with dementia plays an critical role during the differential diagnosis evaluation since the dementia caregiver often fills in historical information and describes symptoms that help the physician finalize their diagnosis.