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BellaOnline's Alzheimers Editor

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How to Alleviate Depression in Alzheimer’s Patients

Guest Author - Debbie Mandel


People with Alzheimer’s are likely to experience depression. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s just knowing about disease progression at a time when patients are still quite cognitive is depressing. Then later on as different areas of the brain shrink, depression can set in as part of this chain reaction. When an Alzheimer’s patient is depressed, he or she has a harder time functioning with activities of daily living which appears as though the patient’s mental capacity is taking a dip. However, depression can be managed and alleviated and once that happens not only does mood improve, but so does function.

Symptoms of Depression in the Alzheimer’s patient:
  • Refusing to get dressed and take medication
  • Poor appetite, even refusing to eat
  • Agitation, confusion and wandering away more often
  • Crying
  • Angry outbursts

How to Help:
  • Lift the blinds, let the sun in and create a positive pleasant environment.
  • Play cheerful music, preferably from the patient’s era.
  • Hug and touch affectionately; tactile stimulation is important like massaging the feet.
  • Use aromatherapy like lavender.
  • Praise a person with Alzheimer’s to enhance self-worth. You can never give too many compliments.
  • Find simple chores for the patient to do. Everyone needs to contribute!
  • Inspire his or her creativity. Painting, singing, cooking, collages, no matter how small are stimulating.
  • Do simple exercises together. Exercise will help alleviate anxiety.
And if all else fails, there are many excellent, non-habit forming anti-depressants available. Consult your geriatric psychiatrist! And don’t forget to carve out time as a caregiver to relax and regenerate. The Alzheimer’s patient absorbs your mood.
For more information on caregiving please read my book, Changing Habits - The Caregivers' Total Workout. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show

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Content copyright © 2014 by Debbie Mandel. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Debbie Mandel. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

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