Understanding the Differences in Depression and Dementia

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Would you recognize if a senior loved one had depression or dementia?

Visiting Mom recently revealed a number of concerning signs. Though she has always been up and out of bed before 7 a.m., now it’s difficult to wake her before noon. Rather than going to great lengths to prepare an elaborate home-cooked meal, she would rather merely warm up a can of soup; and can barely finish a small bowlful. On top of that, she’s lost interest in enjoying time with her best friends from her knitting club. Could she be suffering from depression or dementia? 

There are a number of similarities between the two, like:

  • Eating and sleeping changes
  • Reduced interest in formerly enjoyed interests and hobbies, and spending time with others
  • Reduced memory and the ability to focus

There are, however, a number of distinguishing differences to help identify whether depression or dementia could be at play:

Dementia:

  • A slow, progressive decline in mental functioning
  • Noticeable problems with motor and/or language skills
  • Difficulty with memory, without being aware of these problems
  • Confusion in knowing the correct date, time, and surroundings

Depression:

  • A more rapid decline in mental functioning
  • Difficulties with concentration
  • A bit slower, but still normal motor and language abilities
  • Difficulty with memory issues, but being aware of the problem
  • Awareness of correct date, time and surroundings

Sometimes, both conditions can impact a person simultaneously. Brent Forester, MD, director of the mood disorders division in the geriatric psychiatry research program at McLean Hospital in Belmont, MA, shares, “40 to 50% of people with Alzheimer’s disease get depression, but depression also may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s.”

If you suspect either depression or dementia in a senior loved one, arrange for an appointment as soon as possible with his/her doctor. Receiving a correct diagnosis and beginning a treatment plan is imperative. 

Help for depression can include an antidepressant along with therapeutic counseling, or hospitalization if the difficulties are severe and require more intensive treatment. Dementia care usually involves medications that help with specific symptoms, like sleep problems, memory loss, or changes in behavior. 

If a senior you love has been diagnosed with either depression or dementia, or is struggling with any other difficulties of aging, San Diego Home Caregivers can help. With our full variety of San Diego senior care services, such as companionship, preparing meals, running errands, household chores, transportation, and personal care services, we’re here for whatever specific needs your loved one is facing. Contact us online or at (619) 487-9000 for more information or to request a free in-home consultation.

Learn Family Elder Care Tips to Create Joy Each Day at Home

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Elder Care

Our La Jolla caregivers share ideas for activities that are rewarding for both seniors and caregivers.

An incredible number of individuals nationwide are finding themselves in the position of providing elder care for an older family member, and while being a family caregiver is very fulfilling in many ways, the everyday duties involved with senior care can become tedious for both the caregiver and the care recipient. San Diego Home Caregivers, providers of the highly skilled Alzheimer’s and in home care in San Diego and the surrounding areas, wants to help you put the fun back into your loved one’s day-to-day routine. All it takes is a little inventiveness! Try some of these ideas to make daily senior care more interesting:

Add Style

These recommendations can add some style and fun to dressing, doing laundry, and other tasks:

  • Ask the senior to help with laundry (sorting/folding/putting away). Make the most of this time to discuss your day, a television show you both like, or other common interest.
  • Flip through magazines and catalogs and choose fashions you think the other would look good in.
  • Make selecting clothes and accessories to wear every day a fun event.

Spice Up Meals

Food is part of our culture, family history and traditions, and is associated with numerous emotions. Make mealtime more fun by:

  • Involving the senior in washing/drying dishes.
  • Inviting the older person to assist in making a traditional family meal.
  • Enjoying meals outdoors when weather permits.

Try Something New

There’s always something new to be learned, and no better time than now to try a new hobby or pursue a goal. There are a variety of virtual classes available, with some targeted particularly to older adults and offering reduced (or no-cost) rates. Look for possibilities to learn:

  • A new language.
  • How to play a musical instrument.
  • Skills such as knitting, cooking, gardening, drawing – the options are limitless!

The leading La Jolla caregivers, San Diego Home Caregivers, know that providing care for an older loved one can be both rewarding and intimidating, and we want you to know that you are not alone. As a leading provider of the trusted in home care and dementia care, we offer quality companionship, personal care services such as showering, dressing, and grooming, respite care, and motivation to engage in a variety of enriching activities.

Contact us at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about personalized options for Alzheimer’s and in home care in San Diego and nearby areas to brighten up everyday life for a senior you love. See our full North County service area.

Creating Purpose and Enhancing Health with Engaging Activities for Seniors

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Activities for Seniors

Escape the boring routines and discover how home care can enrich your life!

Is your senior loved one participating in enriching activities on a regular basis, or is he or she stuck in a rut that consists of watching television, eating, and sleeping? Particularly during this time of quarantining and isolation, it can be difficult to maintain an active and involved way of living – but it’s crucially important for the health and quality of life of aging adults.

At San Diego Home Caregivers, expert providers of in-home senior help, we believe that enhancing home health care services with engaging activities for seniors is a key component of ensuring the highest quality of life. San Diego Home Caregivers is one of the leading providers of home care assistance in La Jolla and the surrounding areas, in part because we believe the individuals we serve ought to be honored with activities that engage them and help them remain involved in living life to the fullest on a daily basis. As a result, our in-home caregivers individualize activities to match each person’s distinct interests, hobbies, and ability levels.

Our person-centered care begins with discovering as much as possible about the individual’s preferences, dislikes, hopes and dreams, interests and life history. We get to know each person through an interview that may also include other family members if desired, and then build a personalized plan of care to incorporate a variety of appropriate enrichment activities.

Some of the benefits of including enrichment activities for seniors include:

  • Alleviate boredom and lack of enthusiasm
  • Enhance self-confidence and independence
  • Renew or increase purpose and meaning to life
  • Help improve memory
  • Restore physical abilities
  • Foster a sense of wellbeing for older individuals struggling with a chronic health problem

Successfully enhancing seniors’ daily experiences means not just customizing their activities to meet their individual preferences and tastes, but also ensuring that their daily routine has some variety. This means that on a particular day we may concentrate on activities that are created to boost their inventiveness with a simple but meaningful art project. Another day, the focus may be on just having fun with a board game or taking a short walk around the neighborhood. Ultimately, our senior home care services are customized to help older individuals develop the highest possible quality of life.

It’s equally important to use some resourceful consideration when identifying engaging activities for seniors during a time such as this when it’s best for older adults to stay at home. This might include activities such as taking virtual field trips to check out places of interest, making full use of technology like Zoom and Skype to keep in touch with loved ones, or streaming a live concert featuring his or her favorite genre of music and dancing, singing, or tapping our toes together. Our care professionals are always available to help spark creative ideas.

At San Diego Home Caregivers, improving the daily lives of seniors and optimizing their independence are central components of our mission. Our dementia care in La Mesa, CA and surrounding communities is created not only to support seniors’ physical needs, but to enhance their everyday experiences with activities designed for seniors. Contact us through our online form or call us any time at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about our in-home senior services. View a full list of the communities we serve.