You've probably heard the term dementia before, whether from friends, or the media, or perhaps from doctors, and you may have been uncertain about what it means. In fact, a fair amount of confusion and misconception surrounds dementia. The media, and even some in the medical community, have increasingly begun to use the word "dementia" as a synonym for Alzheimer's disease. It's perhaps a less upsetting term than Alzheimer's precisely because of its vagueness, but that doesn't mean the two are equivalent. Having Alzheimer's means having a disease that will cause one kind of dementia, but having dementia doesn't necessarily mean having Alzheimer's.