The staff at Accredited Home Care has familiarity in working both types of mental health conditions, which can sometimes display similar symptoms. They will be happy to observe and offer any information to a health care provider.
Or if your loved one has already received one or both of these diagnoses from their primary medical professional, home health care specialists also can offer in-home caregiving services and continue to monitor the client and their performance and overall mental health.
Sometimes when multiple mental health conditions are at play, it can be difficult to figure out what’s taking place or whether one may have triggered the other.
The risk of dementia increases as we age.
Health In Aging said it’s relatively rare for those under age 60, and only about 7 percent of adults 60 and over have it. But the percentage ingrease up to 30 percent among those 85 or older.
There are a variety of dementias which can affect the brain and body to varying degrees. Alzheimer’s disease is the most prominent and the most permanent due to changes to the brain.
But another common one is vascular disease, caused by blockages in the brain.
Research continues into possible causes for dementias, which may be affected by everything from infection to deficiencies to certain nutrients to poor lifestyle. Other diseases or health conditions also may contribute to the risk of dementia.
At the same time, medical authorities are trying to find ways to reverse or at least slow down some symptoms. But in some cases, like with Alzheimer’s disease, their research continues.
While depression is common in older people, it shouldn’t be considered a standard part of aging.
That’s the view of the National Institutes of Aging, which said many people generally do feel well about their lives.
But when circumstances change, it can push people into depression. It can be a life change, like a loved one moving or passing away. It can be a change in living situations and related stress of moving. It can be a change in professional status from a valued and motivated employee to a retiree with little to do that’s fulfilling during the day. It can be unexpected health changes or minor items that turn serious.
Depression can be displayed in many ways, not just sadness or ‘feeling blue’ for awhile. It can be expressed as anxiety or anger, shorter patients or even fear. It can take the form of violence or lack of interest in doing anything, even activities that previously made someone happy.
There could be medical reasons for it as well, as some medications may have side effects that can contribute to depression. Or conditions like heart disease or cancer can also cause fatigue and irritability.
Treatment varies but can often include professional help, in the form of therapy or medications. Sometimes, simply changing one’s environment, can help, such as a walk in the sunlight or visit to a loved one.
When depression and dementia combine
Correctly identifying which or both health condition is taking place isn’t easy, which is why professional assistance can help.
The NIH said tiredness, problems sleeping and appetite changes are common symptoms of depression as are confusion and attention problems.
At the same time, these behaviors and symptoms are also common for people dealing with dementia, especially early stages.
People may be tired, unhappy, or confused. They could forget things. They may be unhappy and irritable, but this could be seen as a sign of dementia.
People with depression may become anxious about the possibility of or even a diagnosis of dementia. Likewise, someone with dementia may become depressed with the life-changing diagnosis.
There are other connections as well.
A study in Lancet Psychiatry in 2016 found that people over 55 with depression were more likely to develop dementia. The survey followed 3,325 people over 11 years, some with mild depression, some with severe, and some with changing levels. The patients received regular assessments over the study period. Those whose depression worsened over time were at greatest risk of dementia.
The study concluded those people who have increasing levels of depression later in life may share common causes with early dementia.
How home health care can help
The staff at Accredited Home Care has extensive training in working with Costa Mesa clients suffering from depression, dementia and other health conditions.
What makes some of these conditions especially difficult to easily identify is because the client isn’t always able to share what they’re feeling or why they’re feeling in a certain way.
In depression, people may notice themselves feeling more angry or irritable and may not be able to identify an exact physical or mental cause. Likewise, some dementias may lead to people feeling unhappy or anxious about their situation but they may not be able to vocalize a reason.
In some advanced dementias, their level of confusion or anxiety may make it even more difficult to assess a cause or possible method to to focus on one or both of the conditions.
In-home care can offer different levels of assistance in identifying what’s happening.