Our older generations are often characterised as having to suffer isolation as a natural part of their later years. However it could be social isolation and depression that condemn many of them to suffer dementia later in life.
A study recently published by the University of Amsterdam has concluded that older people suffering from depression are at a far higher risk of developing dementia. The authors of this study, reported originally in Archives of Neurology, compiled date from Medicare recipients over the age of 65 years old.
Depression, which affects mood, energy levels, appetite and sleep patterns, can be a destructive thing if left untreated. Many may dismiss depression as a natural part of aging, however it is not reasonable to allow this to continue or develop, especially if it results in damage for those involved.
Both depression and dementia share a lot of symptoms, which is perhaps why dementia can be missed. Lack of motivation, slow movement and speech, as well as problems with memory are all things to look out for. They could be key indicators of either disease.
Thankfully though, dementia support is available, be it from a charity, healthcare service or even just from yourself, friends and family. Quite often, just getting involved with others is of huge benefit. Charities such as United Response do just that, giving people the confidence to get back out there and start interacting with people again. Similarly, exercise has shown to have incredibly positive results for those who can still engage in physical activity. This doesn’t mean running laps on the track – sometimes a walk around the park a few times a week is enough to blow the cobwebs away.
However what’s most important is recognising that help is needed. Whether you can feel it in yourself, or you’re noticing it in a loved one, it is crucial to address the situation in a positive way and act. Only by seeking the right help can people really beat these debilitating diseases. If depression is spotted early on, there’s always a chance of preventing the switch into dementia which can certainly be less “repairable”.
You can find out lots more about dementia support by visiting United Response. There are plenty of different support networks out there to help you and your family, all of which can provide extra care or guidance for those who need it.