The Stigma of Dementia
“It’s no wonder that people with dementia can end up feeling marginalized, isolated and depressed. Their carers also report feeling depressed, stressed and lonely not only because the job they’re doing is hard, but because the stigma attached to the illness can make it even harder.” (How to deal with stigma when you have dementia, unforgettable.org)
“It can be upsetting to watch a loved one with dementia becoming sad or depressed. But depression after diagnosis is quite common and once you know the signs and symptoms there are lots of things you can do to help make life feel better
If someone close to you has been diagnosed with dementia it’s very likely they might feel depressed or sad. The diagnosis may have come as a shock, or lead to all kinds of worries about the future. But while it’s understandable that they may feel low, it’s also important not to let depression or sadness take over.
It can sometimes be difficult to spot the signs of depression in a person living with dementia because the symptoms of both are often similar. For example, depression can cause forgetfulness, trouble concentrating and apathy – but so can dementia itself.
Generally speaking, it’s best to trust your instincts. If the person you’re caring for seems uncharacteristically low, agitated or withdrawn, isn’t sleeping or eating properly and has been like this for a couple of weeks or longer, it’s worth getting advice from an expert such as your GP, a community nurse, a dementia specialist, geriatrician or other hospital consultants.
If depression is diagnosed, your loved one could be offered medication to help lift their mood. The most commonly prescribed anti-depressants for people who also have dementia are called Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). They can be very effective, but could take several weeks to start working properly – so don’t expect miracles straight away.
Medication isn’t always the answer, especially if you can’t be sure they’ll remember to take it every day. Other ways to help deal with depression and sadness include:
Talking- Whether it’s to a skilled therapist, a good friend or members of a support group, it’s important for someone with dementia to be able to discuss their feelings and fears freely, without being told to ‘cheer up’ or ‘pull yourself together.” (Dealing with symptoms of sadness and depression, unforgettable.org)
This is where Counseling on Demand comes in- for all concerned.
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