How to deal with Alzheimer and Depression

The link between depression and Alzheimer has been a subject of debate for many years, and this has led to a lot of research to try and establish whether there exists a relationship between the two or not. The fact that depression is one of the signs of the onset of Alzheimer is indisputable. However, it has now emerged that the two go hand in hand,  so one has to know how to identify the symptoms of the two conditions and most importantly how to take care of people suffering from one or both of them.

alzheimer infographic

Symptoms

Mild confusion and increased forgetfulness are the two most common symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but they are not the only ones. In fact, some people may not exhibit any of the two when the condition is in its early stages and, therefore, one should also look out for the following symptoms as well.

Memory Loss:

Although it is common for people to experience memory loss it is more persistent in people with Alzheimer. People with this condition tend to misplace routinely their possessions, forget conversations or appointments and repeat statements during a conversation.

Mood Swings and Agitation:

People suffering from this condition may be agitated which is a result of confusion, fear, fatigue, and being overwhelmed trying to figure out a world that no longer makes any sense to them.

Change in Sleeping Habits:

Over the years everyone adopts a certain sleeping pattern or habit that they try to adhere to but Alzheimer and depression can cause this to change. The reason for the change is because your brain will have some interference.

Delusions:

Alzheimer can make a person delusional for example it is common for people with this condition to believe something has been stolen, or someone wants to take something from them.

Wandering:

alzheimer person walking with caregiver

One of the main reasons why people suffering from this condition need a caregiver to watch over them, is that they often wander around and can sometimes get lost. If a person starts wandering aimlessly, this might be a sign that they have Alzheimer.

There are also many symptoms of people suffering from depression, but the most common ones include the thought of death or suicide, eating too much or too little, a problem with remembrance, and low self-esteem.

Caring For Alzheimer and Depression Patients

Depression can be treated, but Alzheimer has no known cure, and so the most important thing is to give good care to the person with the condition. Care will also be important for people suffering from depression even if they do not have Alzheimer or dementia because it is this care that will help speed up their journey to recovery.

caregiver helping with weekly task

A caregiver should have a daily checklist of all the things that he or she should do for the person they are taking care of. The number of the items in the list will vary from one person to the other depending on the severity of their condition and age of the person. However, the following are five the basic things that a caregiver has to concentrate on to give the person the best care possible.

Bathing:

A simple thing like taking a bath might not be easy for people suffering from this condition especially if they are of an advanced age. Make the bathroom as safe as possible using grab bars, a rubber mat and a shower tools to prevent him from falling. You can also play some calm music in the background to help him relax, but you should make sure that you give him as much privacy as possible during bath time.

Eating:

A lot of patience will be required during meal times, but the trick is to create the right feeding environment. A caregiver can do this by getting rid of all the unwanted things from the dining table and making everything easily distinguishable using bold colors.

Dressing Up:

When caring for a person with Alzheimer you should make it easy for them to dress on their own by arranging their clothes in a particular order or by handing them one piece at a time.

Grooming:

A caregiver should show the person, they are caring for, step by step how to do basic self-grooming activities, like brushing teeth or applying makeup  or  assist with manicures for ladies. Possibly drive to barber shop or hair salon.

Other Activities:

dementia person and caregiver

The fact that one has this condition should not prevent him from staying on his routine or past time activities, and so it’s the role of the caregiver to help them with this. A caregiver should help them do daily chores so as to boost their self-esteem, stay active by taking a walk and playing word games to fuel thinking and boost memory.

Managing Complications

There are some common complications that a caregiver should be ready to deal with. These complications include depression, falls and agitation. Depression is common especially in the early day when one discovers that he has the condition. While medication can help with this spending time around other people and regular exercise will also be very beneficial. Falls are often caused by lack of coordination, but through exercise and creating a conducive environment can help manage this complication. Agitation and Aggression, on the other hand, can be managed by keeping the surroundings quiet and staying calm is the person you are caring for gets angry or upset.

 

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