Visiting with Mom recently uncovered some questionable signs. While she’s always been awake and out of bed by 8 a.m., now it’s difficult for her to wake up before lunchtime. Rather than going to great lengths to prepare an elaborate home-cooked meal, she would rather warm up a can of soup; and can barely finish a small bowlful. Additionally, she’s lost interest in visiting with her beloved friends from her book club. How do you know if these are symptoms of depression vs. dementia?
There are some similarities between the two, like:
- Eating and sleeping pattern changes
- A lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities and hobbies, and spending time with friends and family
- Problems with memory and the ability to focus
However, there are also a number of telltale differences to help discern whether depression or dementia could be at play:
- A gradual decline in mental functioning
- Noticeable problems with motor and/or language skills
- Problems with memory, without being aware of these problems
- Confusion in knowing the present date, time, and surroundings
- A faster decline in mental functioning
- Difficulties with concentrating
- A bit slower, but still normal motor and language skills
- Struggling with memory issues, but being aware of the problem
- Aware of correct date, time and surroundings
Sometimes, both health concerns can affect a person simultaneously. Brent Forester, MD, director of the mood disorders division in the geriatric psychiatry research program at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA, shares, “40 to 50% of people with Alzheimer’s disease get depression, but depression also may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s.”
If you suspect either depression or dementia in a loved one, schedule an appointment as soon as possible with his or her doctor. Obtaining a correct diagnosis and starting a treatment plan is imperative.
Assistance for depression might include an antidepressant as well as therapeutic counseling, or hospitalization if the difficulties are severe and warrant more intensive treatment. Dementia care usually involves medications that help with particular symptoms, such as sleep problems, memory loss, or changes in behavior.
If someone you love has been diagnosed with either depression or dementia, or is struggling with any other difficulties of aging, Effraim Home Care, providing home care services and dementia care in Horsham and the surrounding areas, can help. With our full variety of senior services, including companionship, meal preparation, running errands, household chores, transportation, and personal hygiene care, we’re here for whatever individual needs your loved one is facing. Contact us online, or call us at (215) 826-7422 to find out more about our in-home care or to schedule a free in-home consultation.