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Understanding Behaviors of Dementia: Depression

Over time, your loved one living with dementia may experience many changes in behaviors and personality. Not all of those with Alzheimer’s or dementia experience every behavior associated with dementia, but it is important for caregivers and family to be aware of the behaviors that are commonly associated with memory loss and dementia. Depression is one behavior that is commonly associated with Alzheimer’s and is often noticed in the early and middle stages of the disease. Identifying depression in someone living with dementia or Alzheimer’s isn’t always easy. Many symptoms of Alzheimer’s mimic the symptoms of depression, such as apathy, social withdrawal, isolation, difficulty concentrating, and loss of interest in activities. Someone with dementia who is also suffering from depression may experience sadness, hopelessness and guilt, among other feelings, but they will often find it difficult to articulate these feelings due to cognitive impairment as a result of the dementia. Depression in someone with dementia may be less severe, or have symptoms that come and go. No matter how severe, if you notice any signs of depression in your loved one, discuss them with your loved one’s primary care provider. Diagnosis and treatment of depression can be especially helpful and may improve your loved one’s ability to function and overall sense of well-being. Talk to your loved one’s doctor about getting a referral to a geriatric psychiatrist who specializes in diagnosing and treating depression in senior adults. Diagnosing Depression in Alzheimer’s According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in order for a person with dementia to be diagnosed with depression, he or she must display a depressed mood...

Caregiver Support: What is Respite Care?

As a caregiver, you pour a great deal of yourself into your loved one living with dementia. You are no doubt strong and capable, but even you need a break every now and then. Respite care provides an opportunity for caregivers to take a step back and focus on their own personal health, well-being and priorities while their loved one is cared for in a safe environment. Taking advantage of respite services doesn’t make you weak. It only serves to strengthen your ability to care for your loved one. There are different types of respite care available to you as a caregiver, including in-home care services such as a home health aid. Adult day centers offer a safe environment where staff leads planned activities such as art and music programs. Meals and transportation are also often provided in adult day centers. Residential facilities offer overnight stay options for your short to long-term needs. Respite care is available at all of our locations throughout Texas and provides the same level of care our full-time residents receive. Whether you need respite care for a day, a week or a month, respite care at The Cottages can be arranged for any amount of time needed. The Cottages provides fully furnished rooms or apartments for respite care residents. Respite care provides caregivers time to rest, relax and rejuvenate. Take advantage of day respite care at The Cottages if you need time to run errands, spend a day with family or friends, go to appointments or exercise. While you are caring for yourself, your loved one will be provided meals and the opportunity to...

Working with Your Loved One’s Health Care Providers

Providing the best care for your loved one living with dementia requires a partnership between yourself, other caregivers and your loved one’s health care providers. As your schedule fills up with appointments, here are some helpful pointers to make visiting the doctor as stress-free as possible for both you and your loved one. Plan Ahead. Take time prior to the appointment to write down any questions or concerns you or your loved one may have for the doctor. Bring this list with you to the appointment so you’ll be sure to get all the information you need. Keep Detailed Notes. It can be helpful to keep a daily journal of sorts, in which you can write any notes about changes in behavior, routines, eating or sleeping habits. Be specific in your notes, writing when it happens, how often and anything you may have noticed that triggered the changes. Share these notes with the doctor at your loved one’s next appointment. Bring a List of All Medications. It isn’t uncommon for someone with dementia or memory loss to be under the care of more than one doctor and receiving medications or treatment for multiple health conditions. For this reason, it is important to keep a list of all prescription and over-the-counter medications, including vitamins and supplements. Be sure to include dosages. Bring this list to every doctor’s appointment. Ask Questions. In addition to sharing the list of questions you prepared ahead of time, if you don’t understand something, as for clarification until you do understand. Don’t be afraid to share your opinion and never hesitate to call the doctor to...