Understanding & Managing Depression in Alzheimer’s Patients

By: BayView Senior Assisted Living

Depression in People Living with Alzheimer’s

While it can be challenging to separate the symptoms of general dementia from the symptoms of depression, it’s known that up to 50% of individuals living with Alzheimer's experience clinically significant depressive symptoms. Unfortunately, these individuals may have a lag in their treatment of depression. This might be because it’s difficult for them to communicate what they’re feeling or because their symptoms are assumed to be related to their cognitive decline.

Learn more about how depression is treated in individuals living with cognitive decline and what caregivers can do to offer support.

Antidepressants, SSRIs for Treating Depression in Individuals With Alzheimer’s

An Alzheimer’s treatment plan often includes antidepressants, as these types of medications can be valuable for treating a variety of symptoms related to cognitive decline, including depression. You can be your loved one’s advocate by talking to their doctor about whether or not an antidepressant might be a beneficial part of their overall treatment plan. If an individual reacts poorly to one type of medication, there are often other SSRIs that can be tried.

How does depression relate to Alzheimer’s? Depression can impair functioning with daily activities and decrease one’s ability to interact socially. It has also been shown to interfere with memory and cognition, which can exacerbate the symptoms of cognitive decline.

How Can Caregivers Offer Support?

Caregivers and family members should not be afraid to be vocal with their loved one’s doctor if there are concerns about depression. Being proactive about treatment for depression can go a long way to improving the quality of life for loved ones with Alzheimer’s. There is often a multifaceted approach to treatment for depression that includes counseling, medication, and assisting individuals with engaging in activities and social gatherings they used to enjoy. Helping individuals with Alzheimer’s to participate in enjoyable activities and connect with others can bring happiness and decrease isolation.

Some examples of social gatherings and activities could include music therapy groups, art therapy, or group exercise classes tailored to older adults with Alzheimer’s. Additionally, try intentionally having meals in a quiet area with a small group to minimize distractions. Creating safe and accessible outdoor areas can also help your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease feel more comfortable and bring a greater degree of enjoyment to life.

San Diego’s Top Memory Care and Senior Care Community

BayView Senior Assisted Living in Point Loma, California, is one of the top assisted living facilities in the greater San Diego area. We’re known for our compassionate caregivers, beautiful grounds, and personalized, individualized care. We consider it an honor to walk alongside families as they traverse the challenging and heartbreaking journey of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

BayView Senior Assisted Living: Best Senior Living Community Near You

At BayView Assisted Living (and at our partner locations, MesaView Senior Assisted Living, HarborView Senior Assisted Living, and RanchView Senior Assisted Living), we strive to provide compassionate, individualized care, preserving our residents’ dignity at every stage of their Alzheimer’s journey. We’re committed to holistic care that engages our residents on emotional, mental, and spiritual as well as physical levels.

Our compassionate caregivers provide top-notch, individualized care to each member of our memory care communities. Independent living and assisted living offer a chance for seniors to experience the joy of community and activity without worrying about the daily grind and upkeep of home life.

We are consistently rated the best senior living community in San Diego! Contact us today to schedule a COVID-safe tour.

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