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Depression vs. Dementia – Surprising Similarities, Subtle Differences

With the increase of Alzheimer’s and other dementia diagnoses – nearly 36 million people worldwide, according to Alzheimer’s Disease International – this may be the first line of thinking when you notice cognitive changes in yourself or your senior loved one. The reality, however, is that some of the early warning signs of dementia are strikingly similar to those in depression. Here is a list of some of the differences.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease:

  • Mental decline happens slowly

  • The patient experiences confusion and disorientation, often becoming lost in familiar locations

  • Patient has difficulty with short-term memory

  • Writing, speaking and motor skills are impaired

  • Patient does not notice memory problems or seem to care

Symptoms of Depression:

  • Mental decline occurs relatively rapidly

  • Patient knows the correct time and date, and recognizes his or her surroundings

  • Patient has difficulty concentrating

  • Language and motor skills are slow, but normal

  • Patient notices and/or worries about his or her memory problems

It’s crucial that if you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or your loved one, first check with your own doctor or your loved one's doctor so that a proper diagnosis and treatment can be put into place. It's a first step many are reluctant to take whether it's for themselves or for a loved one but it's a step that could save a life and many months or years of hardship and frustation.

Whether it's a diagnosis of depression or dementia in you or your loved one, AAging Better In-Home Care is here to offer assistance in helping accomplish the activities of daily living that often are neglected or forgotten with both diseases. With services ranging from a little help with meals, transportation or light housekeeping to skilled nursing care around the clock, our experienced and compassionate team of aging care experts is just a phone call away.

Contact us online for a free in-home assessment by an RN or give us a call at 208-777-0308 in the Greater Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls areas; 208-263-7889 in the Greater Sandpoint area; or 208-784-1505 in the Greater Kellogg and Wallace area. Or call us at our toll-free number from any area, 866-464-2344.

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