Depression is an equal opportunity offender—impacting people of all ethnicities, genders, and ages. This includes older Americans. In fact, depression is a common symptom of those with dementia, and of Alzheimer’s disease in particular. This is not to suggest that all elderly people who have depression also have dementia; however, it does suggest that depression screenings are invaluable, in particular for those who have already been diagnosed with a form of dementia.
Unfortunately, identifying the symptoms of depression in a person with dementia can be difficult, as dementia itself can cause many of the same symptoms that depression is associated with. Even so, there are some common signs of depression you should be on alert for whenever you are around your aging family members and loved ones:
- Social withdrawal
- Lack of interest in hobbies/activities
- General apathy
- Impaired concentration or thinking
For people who have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, depression may not look exactly the same as it does for those without dementia. The good news is that, typically, it’s not as severe. It may be temporary. The symptoms of depression may fluctuate quite a bit day-to-day or season-to-season.
Simply in the interest of maximizing quality of life for your older family member, however, it is vital to ensure the proper depression care. Start with a screening. A trip to the doctor—ideally one who specializes in geriatric medicine—will allow you to get a depression screening, which is as simple as answering a few basic questions. From there, the physician may refer your loved one to a specialist or recommend another course of treatment, as appropriate.
Be on the lookout for the signs of depression in your family members—and encourage them to get screened today. There’s no harm in getting a quick mental health checkup.
Contact us today to learn more about care options for your loved one with dementia.