Symptoms for either depression or dementia can be so similar, it can be hard to determine the culprit behind a senior loved one’s cognitive decline. Yet in spite of the similarities, treatment options for each condition are different. At Caregivers by WholeCare, we have seen firsthand the struggles families face when trying to best meet a senior loved one’s care needs, particularly when cognitive issues are a factor. The first step should always be to touch base with the senior’s physician to share your concerns, so that an appropriate treatment plan can be implemented.
Whether the senior’s cognitive decline is caused by depression or dementia, time is of the essence in getting a proper diagnosis as quickly as possible. In the case of depression-related cognitive decline, effective treatment can result in restored memory, focus and energy levels. Proper treatment for dementia, likewise, can improve quality of life, and in certain types of dementia, symptoms can be reversed or the progression slowed.
A great tool to help determine which course of action to take is a memory screening. Memory screenings are a good idea for those who:
- Have been experiencing the warning signs of dementia, such as cognitive decline;
- Have been told by family and friends that a change in behavior is being noticed;
- Believe they may be at risk as a result of a family history of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia; or
- May not be especially concerned at the moment, but would like to establish a baseline score for future comparison.
Those who answer “yes” to any of the questions following may also benefit from a memory screening:
- Am I forgetting things more often recently?
- Do I have trouble staying focused or concentrating?
- Are some familiar tasks causing me difficulty?
- Are there times when I struggle to remember words or names?
- Have I ever forgotten where I am?
- Am I being told that I repeat myself?
- Am I losing or misplacing items more frequently now than before?
- Am I ever getting lost while driving or walking through a familiar neighborhood or area?
- Are there changes in my mood, personality or behavior that family or friends have pointed out to me?
A memory screening is not intended to diagnose either depression or dementia; it’s imperative to consult with a qualified physician or other healthcare professional when concerns are noted. To learn more about effectively managing either depression or dementia in a senior loved one, or about our professional Nashville home care services, contact Caregivers by WholeCare at (615) 997-1288.