Living well - Emotional wellbeing - Managing depression

Sadness is a very common experience among those living with dementia and their family members. Sadness that lasts for prolonged periods of time may be depression. Share your feelings with your family and friends and your doctor.

Frequently asked questions

What are the symptoms of depression? Click for answer

Depression impacts people in different ways, but there are some common symptoms to look out for which include:

  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Heightened anxiety
  • Experiencing disturbances in sleeping patterns (e.g., not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much)
  • Changes in diet (e.g., overeating, or loss of interest in food)
  • Aches and pains
  • A loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Low self-esteem, or feelings of worthlessness
  • Feelings of isolation and loneliness

Source: list compiled with permission from Alzheimer Society UK. (2010, March). Apathy, depression and anxiety. Alzheimer's Society, London, UK.

How can I cope with my depression if I have dementia? Or support someone with dementia? Click for answer

It is normal to feel sad or unhappy considering the many changes that are associated with dementia. Do not try to deal with these emotions alone. Be sure to talk with other people who can help you deal with your feelings. If your feelings of sadness and hopelessness are overwhelming, make an appointment with your doctor, and talk openly and honestly about what you are feeling. Your doctor will be able to determine the best way to treat your depression. You may need some professional counselling or medication.

Source: The information above was reprinted with additions with permission from Alzheimer Society of Canada. (2001). Shared experiences: Suggestions for those with Alzheimer disease. [Booklet]. Toronto, Canada: Alzheimer Society of Canada.