Depression and dementia

 

Sometimes depression and dementia occur together and it’s important to be able to identify when these two conditions are present at the same time.

For someone with dementia, changes that can lead to depression include:

  • loss of independence and increasing reliance on others
  • inability to go out alone
  • not being able to do the things previously enjoyed
  • not being able to do everyday tasks
  • high anxiety and agitation
  • confusion and loss of memory. 

Depression is three to four times more common in people with dementia than in older people without dementia. However, it can go unrecognised for a number of reasons:

  • it’s often incorrectly assumed it’s ‘normal’ for older people to be depressed, especially those with dementia
  • it can be difficult to distinguish symptoms of depression from those of dementia
  • people with dementia can have problems communicating with their doctors and people who care for them, or may not be able to describe their own symptoms very well.

Am I depressed?

Depression can be even more difficult to diagnose in yourself when you also have dementia. If you have any concerns, you should discuss them with your doctor because depression is treatable. Medication and/ or therapy, such as counselling, cognitive therapy and behavioural interventions, could help you.


Booklet: Living well with dementia
A guide for people diagnosed with dementia

This booklet is written for people who have been diagnosed with dementia to give you information and to help you continue to live well. 

The booklet suggests ways to look after yourself including how to adjust to change and managing your day, as well as working, driving, keeping involved and active and planning for the future. 

Click here to download the booklet (PDF).