AlzU Blog

Check list for Identifying Signs of Depression in Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s Disease

Depression is a common malady in the senior population in general and those with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are even more prone to sadness and isolation and grief and loss that could lead to full blown depression than others.

Life changes that can worsen depression include: accepting the reality of a long term disease such as AD, chronic pain,  adjustment to moving to a new environment (such as a nursing home or residential facility) loss of independence, problems with clear thinking and memory, loss of other family members and/or friends and more.
Here are some signs and symptoms that caregivers should be aware of that could signal the possibility of depression and that certainly warrant a discussion with the primary physician:

•An sudden increase in forgetfulness or confusion (which could be related to AD symptoms worsening but could also be a sign of depression)
•Decrease in appetite-may be evidenced by uneaten or spoiled food in the fridge
•Lack of attention to hygiene issues (may stop bathing, grooming and/or washing clothes)
•Reported feelings of apathy or depression
•Lack of interest in socialization, hobbies or other things that were important in the past.
•Unusually unkempt house (dirty dishes stacking up or general inattention to cleanliness particularly in those who are normally very neat and clean
•Cessation of taking medications properly

These symptoms do not necessarily indicate depression is present, but they certainly do warrant a report to the primary physician for further assessment and possible medical intervention.  It’s also important to note that caregivers are high risk for depression.  If you identify with some of the signs and symptoms of depression yourself, it may be wise to report these warning signals to your family physician.

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