Depression Increases Risk of Dementia

By April 8, 2016Dementia
Pensive senior man in sitting position

Seniors who suffer from depression may be at higher risk for Dementia. However, by tracking these symptoms in a clinical setting, the risk can be addressed and perhaps, lowered. It’s helpful to understand how to treat depression in seniors, and if any of these strategies can delay or prevent the increased risk of developing dementia.

The good news is that antidepressants can effectively treat depression. However, the not so good news is that studies have shown that even though medication may treat the daily symptoms of depression, it does not have an impact on whether dementia develops later on.

Behavioral Changes
The senior’s personality and willing to change behaviors can help. An older person who sees the world as a miserable place with no hope of change is going to remain depressed. They may be prone to isolation caused by the loss of friends and loved ones. If they are unwilling to make new friends, seek new activities and get out of the house depression will continue and may even worsen. However, a senior who is willing to seek new friends and explore new places not only fends off depression, but also keeps the mind and body active. Together these strategies keep the mind active, which is an effective tool in fending off dementia.

Living Environment
The living environment of a senior has a lot of power on the status of their mental health. Regardless of whether they are at an assisted living facility or aging in place at home, any senior can suffer from loneliness and isolation. Seniors often feel debilitated when they sense a loss of independence or increased distance from family. Family and friends play an important role is helping to bring joy into the senior’s life. They can visit and call so that the senior knows people care. Volunteers who visit seniors in various living situations help to ease the isolation and create happiness. Additionally, an at-home caregiver can bring tremendous comfort and company. LivHOME prioritizes the mental health of the seniors our caregivers care for, so families can be sure their loved one is in excellent hands.

Clinical Support
Caregivers, friends, and family members can support seniors by making sure they have easy and timely access to health professionals. These clinicians provide important tracking of cognitive levels and can advise on ways to improve memory and mental acuity. Dementia is a complex disease, unlike any other. Friends and family members should not expect themselves to understand the disease, its signs and symptoms without the help of a medical professional.

When it comes to seniors and depression, LivHOME can help. The LivHOME Companion Program can reduce the risk of social isolation and enable seniors to continue living in their own homes while staying engaged and connected to others and their community. We team mature adults who share common interests and life experiences with senior clients, based on their socialization needs. These peers are compatible and engaging companions who enrich the lives of LivHOME clients through meaningful social interactions. Happiness and friendship has the power to fend off depression, and hopefully, the onset of dementia.

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