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How Can You Tell if a Senior with Dementia Is Depressed?

It’s difficult for an aging adult with dementia to tell you much about what’s going on with her, but the possibility is that she’s facing issues such as depression. But how can you know for sure?

Senior Care Lexington NC - How Can You Tell if a Senior with Dementia Is Depressed?

Senior Care Lexington NC – How Can You Tell if a Senior with Dementia Is Depressed?

Depression or Dementia?

Depression and dementia often occur together. Your elderly family member may already have a propensity toward depression, but dealing with the changes that dementia brings can also be depressing for her.

The problem in distinguishing between the two can be that the symptoms are very similar. Both can include:

  • Loss of interest in regular activities
  • Withdrawing socially and isolating
  • Having trouble concentrating

Also, depression itself is slightly different for people who have dementia. The symptoms may come and go more often and they may be milder than they would be without the added complication of dementia.

Your Aging Family Member Might Not Be Able to Tell You She’s Depressed

Due to the complications that dementia creates for your elderly family member, she may not even be able to tell you how she’s feeling. This is why knowing her typical responses and behaviors can be so very important. Being able to spot changes helps you know when it might be time to get some extra help.

Talk to Your Senior’s Doctor

If you suspect at all that your aging adult might be dealing with depression, be sure to mention it to her doctor. Diagnosing depression in an elderly family member who has dementia involves looking at a variety of different factors including her family history, an exam, and talking to you and other people who spend a lot of time with your senior.

Try a Few Different Solutions

Once diagnosed, you have more options than you might think. Medication is always an option, of course, but you might want to wait to try it to see if other solutions provide results. This can especially be important if your elderly family member already takes a great many medications. Beyond that, you can add exercise to her routine, help your aging adult connect to other people, and even consider counseling.

Watch for Your Own Signs of Depression

It’s important to note that you are also at a greater risk of depression as your elderly family member’s caregiver. Staying in tune with your own self-care helps to leave you in a better position to care for your senior. Take respite time when you can, either with the help of senior care providers or other family members.

Remember that this is a process and that you and your aging adult are going to make as much progress as you can.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care Services in Lexington NC, please contact the caring staff at Tender Hearted Home Care today. (704) 612-4132.

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Renee Gray

As Founder, Owner & President of TenderHearted Home Care, I have always had a heart for helping others. I started with babysitting while a teenager, assisting the mentally disabled in a work environment for 10 years, homeschooling my two sons, serving others for 9 years while employed through the local hospital and since 2011 have been focused on helping seniors to maintain their independence in the comfort of their own home. I am a Certified Senior Care Manager (CSCM) as designated by the Association of Care Services At Home (

I have enjoyed volunteering my time as the President of the Rowan County Home School Association, assisting with the Parkinson’s Support Group, Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Pregnancy Support Center, MOPS International, Capstone Recovery Center, Kairos Outside, Celebrate Recovery, various church committees and going on a mission trip to Moldova. I am a member of the Rowan County Council on Aging, Meals on Wheels board member, REACH of Rowan County, HIPSS of Davidson County, Second Tuesday Business Group and several Christian Business Life Groups.

I am passionate about serving others and providing the most compassionate care possible, as I would want for my own family. I love relaxing with my husband, Peter, and my two dogs, Yoyo and Terra Cotta.

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