Yes it is the same series and that been running since the 60's.
However soap opera's have changing characters and story lines constantly. Each story line will be it's own self contained arch, anything you need to know to understand the story line will be spelled out to the viewer even if old characters and backstory that happened years ago is used.
So I suggest you just start now, and you will be at the end of some story lines, the middle of others and perhaps the start of another. After watching for a few weeks, all of the current story lines will have ended and you will understand everything that is currently happening.
As a side note, large story lines tend to come to a culmination at holidays, for example Christmas episodes are nearly always the end of one of the largest story lines of the year.