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An MRI or CTSCAN will give you a proper dementia diagnosis.
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I have the same question ........my father who is 91 and in great physical shape (poor mental cognition) is depressed constantly. I am p.c.g. and he lives with me. My daughters who are 11, and 7 do not understand why grandpa is so sad and cranky......it is wearing our family thin. My husband just goes inside his shell and says nothing.
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Eyerishlass, what a sad story about your mother! I'm so sorry that her life ended that way.

I did see something similar in the first SNF where my mother rehabbed from her first fall and fractured leg. One of the other patients recovered from her injuries (I don't know what they were), but suffered a fracture later, returned to the nursing home but was overwhelmed and died at the nursing home without recovering.

I don't know whether she had suffered depression, but she was a Holocaust survivor, so the enormity of that experience was likely something that affected her ability to recover from the second injury. And who knows who other memory horrors were resurrected by being confined?

Daisychains, you might want to consider being evaluated (or having your parent evaluated) for both, so that no decisions are made which might accidentally ignore the possibilities for recovery.

I went through a period during which my own thought processes were jumbled and symptomatic of dementia. It was after my mother and sister died, 16 months apart, my father became deconditioned from overworking in response to his losses and was in 4 hospitals then a nursing home over a period of 7 months. I was overwhelmed, stressed out, and depressed.

Once I was able to restore balance to my life (without any medication, incidentally) I was able to get back on an even keel. But there are still times when mental clarity and forgetfulness are issues. That's when I listen to music, draw, read, work out or garden.

I hope this helps you sort out your concerns.
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Many of the symptoms of depression are also symptoms of dementia.

- forgetfulness
- interrupted sleep patterns
- increase/decrease in appetite
- isolation

....to name but a few. Only a Dr. can determine if someone is experiencing depression and/or dementia. There are also characteristics of dementia that don't present with depression.

Depression in the elderly is common, can be fatal, and should be treated.

My mom had cancer. It was localized and it was removed surgically. She didn't need chemo or radiation. After she left the hospital she was admitted to a rehab for about 2 weeks. Prior to all of this she had been healthy. The diagnosis of cancer was such as shock as it was found during a routine check-up.

Once of rehab and back home the enormity of what she had been through hit her and she went to bed and never got back up again. She was dead within a month. She didn't die of cancer ,she didn't have a heart attack or anything like that. The Dr. said "natural causes" but it was depression, which she had been prone to all of her adult life.

After all of this happened I was watching "Dr. G. Medical Examiner" and she had a case of a young man (in his 30's) who became so depressed that he finally gave in to it, put on some Depends, and took to his bed. He too died and Dr. G. said he died from depression.

These are extreme cases in my opinion but if I hadn't seen it myself I would have never believed it.
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