Unfortunately, both depression and dementia are conditions that are commonly found in elderly people, and it can be difficult to tell the two apart. After all, similar symptoms, such as a decline of mental sharpness, problems with memory, slow movements and speech, and a low level of motivation, can all be indicative of both conditions. However, there are ways to help tell the difference between the two.
Symptoms found with depression include a mental decline that is quite rapid and the person has difficulty concentrating on things. He or she is aware of having memory problems or worries about having these issues. He presents with slow motor skills and language, but the actions and speech are normal. The elderly person also has an awareness of the date, time, and location they are at.
Though, as mentioned previously, the symptoms of dementia are similar, they present differently than with depression. With dementia, the rate of mental decline is slow and the elderly person comes across as confused and may become lost in locations that she knows. She has problems with her short term memory and her speech, writing ability, and motor skills are impaired. The elderly person is unaware of having any memory issues or may come across as simply not caring about having problems with her memory.
When an elderly patient is showing signs of either of these conditions, proper care is very important. Treatment of these conditions can improve the quality of life for a person and help him to lead a more fulfilling life.