Dementia affects an individual in many ways – mentally, physically, and emotionally. Many seniors with dementia experience a decline in cognitive decline that affects their memory and thinking abilities.
They may experience physical symptoms in later stages, such as muscle weakness and weight loss. The combination of changes can significantly affect one’s mental health, leading to depression or anxiety.
Since there are many different types of dementia, the treatment or care, your aging parent needs can vary.
If your loved one with dementia behaves differently, you can learn what’s bothering them and help them accordingly.
More Susceptible to Depression
Many seniors with dementia are often susceptible to depression as it can be challenging to deal with the changes.
The causes of depression in individuals with dementia can vary, but common reasons include a history of traumatic events, lack of social support, and stress about future issues, such as relationships or money.
Depression can also be an early warning sign of dementia. Research suggests that earlier-life depression or depressive symptoms may increase the risk of dementia.
The likely biological mechanisms linking depression to dementia include vascular disease, inflammatory changes, deficits of nerve growth factors, and more.
Anxiety About Change
People with dementia face a drastic change in their life after their diagnosis. Confirming the disease or changes in their life to adopt a new lifestyle can cause anxiety in many seniors.
Many reasons can cause anxiety in seniors with dementia, such as damage to parts of the brain that regulate emotion or stress regarding health or money problems.
It’s essential to ensure that your loved one is in a comfortable environment to eliminate triggers and reduce anxiety.
The best dementia care facilities create a home-like environment for seniors and use specialized methods to keep them engaged.
Focusing on their mental health allows them to age in place while they get peace of mind.
Hallucinations or Delusions
When a person with dementia hallucinates or has delusions, they may see, smell, hear, or taste things that aren’t there.
This may cloud their judgment and lead to risks as they could start to wander to find what they are sensing and potentially get lost or injured.
Hallucinations or delusions can often stem from other causes, including schizophrenia, medications, and physical problems like bladder infections.
It’s essential to understand what may be causing hallucinations or delusions to help your loved ones receive the care they need.
Feelings of Hopelessness
It’s not uncommon for seniors with dementia to feel hopeless after their diagnosis.
Many people feel upset about the lack of independence, while others tend to withdraw from social interactions due to behavior changes.
If you notice your loved one losing interest in things they used to like doing, it can be helpful to encourage them to continue participating in those activities or form new habits.
A consistent routine will ensure they are busy, leaving them less time to think negative thoughts.
Dementia affects a senior’s mental health in many ways, as the changes in their brain and lifestyle can influence their thinking process.
It’s important to understand what might be causing them discomfort to determine the ideal solution to help them live a better life.
Sandra is a health blogger based in San Diego, California. She is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. She loves being outdoors and exploring new places with her husband. She is a mom of two awesome kids and a dog named Luna!