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Dementia, Depression And Regrets

Posted Nov 10 2008 4:46pm

I still have regrets that my mother wasn't treated sooner for her depression.

Her struggle with Parkinson's Disease and its related dementia ended in 2001 but I think of this sad fact often. How would her life or quality of life have been different in her last years if we could have coaxed her to get treatment?

Persons with dementia face a great risk to have depression as a complicating factor; although often it is not recognized. In fact, a recent study by Boustani & Watson (2004) estimate that somewhere between 30 - 50% of all persons with dementia (within different settings) have depression as well. With depression showing a remarkable ability to be treated, why aren't more cases identified?

One reason is probably that the dementia symptoms often can be confused with other conditions such as depression or even delirium. The other is a need for elder adults to get a good global assessment instead of a quicky office visit where some important symptoms may never be discussed.

In my mother's case, she was reluctant throughout her life to deal with major anxiety and later on, the depression after my father's death. Unfortunately, no amount of convincing was possible to change a lifetime of resistance.

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