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How Can You Help Your Parent Cope with Depression During Alzheimer's Disease?

Sep 14, 2018 by Nancy Hmieleski, RN, BSN Director of Nursing

Experts estimate that approximately 40% of those living with Alzheimer's disease will experience a significant level of depression at some point during the progression of their disease. Depression can be more difficult to detect in those with Alzheimer's disease than it is in others because many of the signs and symptoms of depression are similar to those of Alzheimer's disease. This can mean those caring for a senior with Alzheimer's disease may miss symptoms of depression, leaving the senior untreated. As a family caregiver, it is extremely important for you to not only detect when your elderly loved one may be living with depression as a part of their progression with Alzheimer's disease, but also that you take the steps to help them cope with their depression so they can maintain a better health and well-being as a age-in-place.

Some ways you can help your parents cope with depression during Alzheimer's disease include:

  • Encourage your parent to participate in a support group. This will give them a place to express themselves, get emotional support, and not feel as alone
  • Acknowledge what they are going through. Sometimes the hardest part about depression is feeling like they are being over-dramatic, or that no one understands what they are experiencing. Let your parent know you know they are struggling, and that it is alright for them to feel this way, but also that you are there for them to help them through
  • Talk to their doctor. You should inform your parent's doctor about any changes in their behavior, symptoms, or struggles as they progress through their disease. This includes the appearance of depression. The doctor can give recommendations for treatments and management approach that can help your parent cope and move beyond their depression
  • Encourage your senior to be active. Exercising regularly helps to reduce symptoms of depression, and boost mental and emotional health. This exercise can be as simple as a walk in the morning and evening, going to the mall to window shop, or participating in a dance class

Physical challenges, limitations, and symptoms are not the only issues your parent might face as they age. Many seniors also experience mental and emotional challenges, such as loneliness, isolation, and depression. Elderly care can be extremely valuable for seniors with these needs. An elderly home care services provider can be with your aging parent on a completely customized schedule to ensure your parent has access to the care, support, and assistance that is right for the according to their need, as well as the care you already give them. Companionship, transportation to activities, and encouragement to participate in opportunities around the community can all help your senior maintain a higher level of mental and emotional health, and enjoy better quality of life as they age in place. 

If you or an elderly loved one are considering elderly care in High Bridge, NJ, or the surrounding areas, call the caring professionals at Comfort Keepers of Flemington, NJ. Call today (908) 806-2220.

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