of Alzheimer’s Disease
In Early Onset Alzheimer’s Patients
Depression is more than a feeling of being sad or down. It is a disorder that affects both your thoughts and your feelings.
Depression symptoms in a person with Alzheimer’s are often just like depression in the elderly without a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s except that in some cases: The symptoms may not be as severeThe episode of depression will not last as longMay not return as often
If the aging senior family member with Alzheimer’s is depressed, you may find that the symptoms will come and go. This will be in contrast with the memory and cognitive problems that get worse over time.
What to look for
The aging senior family member may be depressed if they have one of these two symptoms in this category along with two or more symptoms of the following category:A depressed mood that is apparent to you. This would be exhibited by a sense of sadness, hopelessness, feeling discouraged or tearful.Showing signs of feeling less and less positive about being in social situations, or having less and less fun doing things they used to enjoy doing
Two or more from this category:
Withdraws from all social contact with othersHas a poor appetite not caused by some other medical condition or a medication. Inability to sleep or has disruptive sleep.Becomes easily agitated or irritable, more often .Reaction to things is slower.Complains of having no energy or seems to be tired oftenExpresses feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness it a lot of guilt over things that they have no control over Expresses thoughts of death, suicide or attempts suicide.
Depression symptoms and Alzheimer’s disease have similar symptoms. It may be hard to tell the difference. If you think that the aging senior family member is depressed, talk with the doctor. The most common treatment is a combination of medication and support. Anti depressant medication can help with the depression symptoms. It can improve mood and symptoms of sadness and not caring, improve the appetite and help with sleep problems.
Anti depressant medications are non- habit forming so you do not have to worry about the aging senior family member becoming addicted.
Here are some things that you and other family members can do to offer support:
Planning and maintaining daily routines is important. Scheduling the more difficult tasks during the “better” times of the day will assure success. That is usually earlier in the day, as one gets tired as the day goes on.
Plan regular activities with the individuals the aging senior enjoys being around.
Plan exercise everyday. A walk or even chair exercises help depression.
Talk positive and express hope to the aging senior hat they will feel better soon.
Celebrate every small success.
Recognize the senior family member as a contributing individual of the family life. Acknowledge their importance and value as a member of the family. Reassure them they are loved and appreciated.
Reassure the senior family member you will not abandon them. You will be there to support them as they need you. Please do not make promises out of guilt that you do not want to keep. These will come back to haunt you later.
There are support groups for individuals with early onset Alzheimer’s that know about their disease and want to be proactive. Call the local Alzheimer’s Association to find a local group on your area.
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