Depression and DementiaApril 2nd, 2014
Dementia is the term used to cover a variety of symptoms including memory loss and a reduced ability to reason. Many are symptoms of ageing but can occur even in the teens. The most common two are Alzheimer's Disease, and Vascular Dementia. Other frequent types are Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Picks Disease
- Depression in late life is frequently co-morbid with physical illness such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and hip fracture. If caregivers misinterpret the nature and different forms of depression, they may not seek diagnosis and treatment.
- Depression often causes physical problems such as loss of energy, low appetite and weight, trouble sleeping, social withdrawal, and complaints of pain. Depression can also make someone agitated and delusional.
- Most older adults, most of the time, are not depressed. Depression is NOT a normal part of growing old but rather an illness that needs to be treated. Age alone is not a risk factor for depression.
- Depression is often mistaken for apathy which has been shown to be a different syndrome from depression.
- Memory loss can be caused by medications, medical conditions, or by depression related to life events. Forgetfulness may be an early sign of dementia but it does not necessarily mean a person will be diagnosed with dementia.
- Only 6%-8% of people over age 65 have dementia and 1/3 of those over age 85 have some dementia symptoms.