Depression in Seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease
Many seniors with Alzheimer’s disease experience depression. However, depression in seniors with Alzheimer’s disease can be manifested differently than in persons without the disease. For seniors with Alzheimer’s disease depression is represented by (1) a depressed mood or decreased pleasure in activities and (2) two or more of the following symptoms for 2 weeks or longer: (a) disrupted sleep; (b) fatigue; (c) reduced appetite unrelated to a medical condition; (d) social isolation; (e) irritability; (f) feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; or (g) ongoing thoughts of suicide.
Treating Alzheimer’s Depression
Treating Alzheimer’s related depression can greatly improve the quality of life. While medication options such as antidepressants can be pursued, non-drug alternatives can also be effective. A daily routine of morning exercise coupled with difficult tasks during the individual’s best time of day are some strategies that can be implemented; increasing favorite activities, foods, and celebrations can also be effective. Increasing the individual’s sense of worth should also be pursued with the reassurance that they are loved, respected, and will not be abandoned.