Dementia and Depression

Sometimes as individuals grow older and enter their retirement years, they begin to feel depressed. The depression can result from declining health, loss of a spouse or other loved one, no longer being able to work and a variety of other factors facing senior citizens. Various forms of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease also affect some individuals. In the early stages, it sometimes can be difficult to differentiate dementia from depression.

Depression often results in memory problems in older individuals. They might seem as if they are being forgetful, when in fact, they are distracted by their feelings of depression. If a person is exhibiting mild to moderate changes in his or her personality or slight mood swings, they may be suffering from depression. The problem lies in the fact that these symptoms also could indicate dementia.

If your loved one has been having memory problems for an extended period of time, you should consult with a physician. The same is true if an individual is acting out of character or having wide mood swings for more than a few days. These could by signs of depression or dementia. It is best to consult with a physician so that he or she can evaluate your loved one for depression or other illnesses. Hopefully, the doctor will find that your loved one is healthy. In fact, sometimes a simple imbalance in a person’s diet can be causing these problems and can be treated effectively.

You also might learn that a loved one is suffering from dementia or depression. Both are serious conditions. It is important to learn all that you can from your family member’s diet. They can instruct you on how to care for your loved one and what steps you can take to help him or her with depression or dementia. Depression often responds well to medication. This also is true for older individuals with depression.

Dementia has its own treatments and set of challenges. If your family member has a form of dementia, the way you handle his or her condition will differ depending on the cause. It is important to work closely with your loved one’s physician. You also should read and do your own research to learn ore about the cause of your family member’s dementia. If your loved one is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, you can find a variety of resources and support groups.

When you have a loved one who suffers from dementia, it also is important to watch for signs of depression. As a person begins to become forgetful or to have memory problems, he or she often feels a bit helpless which can lead to depression. Although dementia can cause a person to be withdrawn, to act differently or to have mood swings, you still need to be aware of the possibility of depression. If you notice any new symptoms or significant changes, you should talk to your family member’s physician to find out if an evaluation for depression is necessary.