Understanding dementia and depression

Dementia is the term used to describe a group of conditions caused by abnormal changes in the brain. These changes interfere with a person’s ability to remember, think and make decisions – which can have a significant effect on daily living. The most common type of dementia is known as Alzheimer’s disease. 

Living with dementia isn’t easy. While it can affect a person’s life in a variety of ways, it’s common for people with dementia to also experience depression. This blog post explores the link between dementia and depression, as well as how dementia care in Chadwell Heath, Romford can provide the necessary support to improve wellbeing. 

What is dementia?

Dementia isn’t a specific disease. Rather, it’s the umbrella term used to describe the deterioration of the brain that causes the impaired ability to remember, communicate and think, which can impede a person’s independence. While it’s common for older people to experience some memory issues like occasionally misplacing car keys, dementia is not considered a normal part of ageing. This is progressive and typically affects people who are 65 or older. Signs of dementia can include:

  • trouble communicating 
  • getting lost in familiar neighbourhoods
  • an inability to independently complete tasks 
  • forgetting the names of close family and friends
  • consistently losing belongings or forgetting appointments.

What is depression?

Depression is more than a temporary low mood. It’s a long-term feeling of unhappiness and hopelessness that can persist for weeks or months. It is not a sign of weakness and it is not something you can ‘snap out of’. In addition to a consistently low mood, depression can be accompanied by physical symptoms like constant fatigue, loss of appetite, low sex drive, and a range of aches and pains. A depressed mood may result in losing interest in activities that were previously loved and an overall lack of energy. Like dementia, depression is not a normal part of ageing. 

The link between dementia and depression

According to statistics, approximately 20 to 30% of people living with dementia also experience depressive symptoms. The risk of developing depression increases due to social isolation, fatigue and physical illness. It can also be caused by environmental factors such as a lack of sunlight or fresh air, or unwanted stimulation from background noise. In some cases, depression can be a side effect of certain medications. 

The importance of dementia support 

Dementia causes ongoing cognitive decline. But although there is currently no cure for dementia, dementia support makes it possible to continue living well and enjoying life. Our specialist dementia services can help manage dementia and combat depression by ensuring your loved one maintains a routine, exercises regularly and engages in our dementia-friendly activities. These are led by our dementia specialists who have received advanced training to provide quality support. We aim to create a calm and soothing environment that aims to maximise feeling secure whilst supporting independence. Our goal is to give your loved one the support they need to stay safe and happy in their home away from home.

Get in touch 

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with dementia, our dementia care services are here for you. Please feel free to get in touch or give us a call on either 0800 999 8499 or 0208 597 4175 to learn more about how we can help. Our friendly and compassionate staff would be happy to assist you.