Alzheimers and Depression

By Medha Saraiya, RPN and CEO of ConnexHealth

January 28th, 2021


Today being the #BellLetsTalk day, I wanted to talk about depression and its impact on individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.


The Pandemic and lockdown have had a negative impact on the mental health of many of us, including on individuals living with Alzheimer’s. People living with Alzheimer’s may loose complete interest in the activities they once enjoyed. Oftentimes, they may lose their ability to control their emotions.


Up to 50 per cent of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s might experience depression at some point. Depression can make the symptoms of Alzheimer’s worse, for example, depression can cause increased forgetfulness, confusion, and anxiety.


The symptoms of depression can be similar to symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Therefore, it is often difficult to identify depression in people with dementia. There are some common signs of depression to be aware of:

🧠 Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities

🧠 Lack of energy

🧠 Problems sleeping

🧠 Increased confusion

🧠 Loss of appetite and weight


If you are concerned about depression, speak to the doctor.


Possible causes of depression

🧠 In the early stages of dementia, the person may experience depression after hearing their diagnosis

🧠 Social isolation may also cause depression in some people

🧠 Depression can be a side effect of certain medications. Ask the doctor to review the drugs he is currently taking.


Responding to depression

🧠 Encourage pleasant activities that the individual can still enjoy, such as short walks or outings.

🧠 Set realistic expectations. If you expect too much, they may feel frustrated and discouraged.

🧠 Establish a consistent daily routine. This will help reassure them as well as reduce confusion.

🧠 Counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, and group therapy may be helpful.