With Alzheimer’s disease becoming an epidemic the U.S., many people are hyper-aware of even the smallest memory-related or cognitive changes in their older loved ones. However, those cognitive changes may be a sign of something just as serious, but far more treatable — depression. If you are concerned that a loved one may be exhibiting early warning signs of Alzheimer’s, it is important to first rule out that it is not depression, as the two can have similar symptoms.
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
Determining which symptoms more closely match those of yourself or your loved ones will give you valuable information for the doctor to help in diagnosis. Observe your loved one carefully, and of course contact your doctor for a proper diagnosis. If you would like more information on how to cope with either Alzheimer’s disease or depression, or to schedule a free in-home care assessment, contact the home care professionals at Hillendale Home Care in the San Francisco Bay area.