With more than five million Americans currently suffering from Alzheimer’s, it’s a subject that many children of elderly parents find themselves having to learn about. As bad as Alzheimer’s is in its own right, this condition also makes it more likely that someone will also suffer from anxiety, depression or both. Irritability and agitation are another couple of conditions that are common for those with dementia. Our team at Home to Stay Health Care, your experts at in-home care for seniors in Cherry Hill, NJ, would like to share some information with you on this topic.

Understanding the Connection

It’s not hard to see why someone with Alzheimer’s will also have depression or anxiety. If you knew you had a condition where you were slowly losing your memories and your mind, you’d more than likely be anxious and depressed as well. Also, the pathology of this type of illness can cause the physical depletion of the neurotransmitters that affect behavioral factors such as mood and calmness.

What You Can Do Without Drugs

While there are various pharmacological medications that can help with depression and anxiety, there are other things you can try first. Ensuring that your elderly parent or grandparent with this illness is getting regular aerobic exercise has been shown to help with their mood and relaxation. Talking it out with you or friends or with a support group can be extremely helpful in those situations where the cause of the condition is more influenced by their feelings about having Alzheimer’s as opposed to the pathology of the illness itself.

A Pharmacological Approach to Depression and Anxiety

Of course, it’s a given that any treatment involving prescription drugs for these conditions in your loved one with dementia would have to be recommended and approved by a physician. It can be helpful, however, for you to know about a few medicines that have been known to help.

Drugs such as sertraline (Zoloft) and escitalopram (Lexapro) can be helpful for Alzheimer’s sufferers who have depression or anxiety who get Alzheimer’s care in Mt Laurel and the surrounding areas. You may even find that these drugs alleviate any agitation and irritability they may be feeling as well. If your elderly loved one has depression but not anxiety, then stimulating antidepressants such as venlafaxine (Effexor) and bupropion (Wellbutrin) may be helpful.

One big catch with the pharmaceutical approach is the seemingly unending list of side effects that these medications typically have. Problems such as headaches, apathy, gastrointestinal upset and insomnia may not sound too bad, but the effects of some of these medicines can also include dizziness, sexual dysfunction and even suicidality.

Therapy Can Be a Lifesaver

As someone who cares for an elderly loved one suffering from the ravages of dementia, you need to remember the four R’s of:

  • Reconsider life from their point of view.
  • Reassure them that everything will be OK.
  • Redirect them to activities that take their mind off their situation.
  • Relax

The final R of “relax” is for you. Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease in Harrison Twp or surrounding towns, or another form of dementia, can be very taxing on you. You need to make sure you are rested and calm so you don’t unwittingly exacerbate any agitation or frustration with an unfortunate tone of voice or word choice.

Professional In-Home Care for Your Elderly Parent in Cherry Hill, NJ

Our team of compassionate at-home caregivers at Home to Stay Health Care are happy to bring you the above tips for helping your loved one deal with depression and anxiety on top of their dementia. While we offer an impressive array of in-home care for seniors in and around Cherry Hill, NJ, we are especially well known for our dementia care program known as the AlzBetter Program. This patent-pending program brings your elderly loved one compassionate and effective stay-at-home care in Cherry Hill, NJ that keeps them stimulated, happy and safe.