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Depression

The person you are caring for may feel sad and low at times. Feeling sad is a normal human emotion. The person may be anxious about what is happening to him or her.

Offer as much reassurance as you can. Try involving the person in activities he or she enjoys. This may be enough to lift the person’s mood.

If you notice that the person you are caring for has prolonged periods of unhappiness and listlessness, is slowing down and becoming withdrawn, then you should seek medical advice. He or she may be experiencing depression.

The relationship between depression and dementia is complex. People with severe depression are occasionally misdiagnosed as having dementia and people with dementia are sometimes, especially in the early stages, labelled as being depressed. An added complication is the fact that a diagnosis of dementia can sometimes lead to depression.

Depression is an illness in its own right and can be caused by physical changes in the brain's chemistry. It is also treatable and can be alleviated by drugs and/or counselling.