Elderly man sitting with a woman who has her arm around him and her head on his shoulder

For someone with dementia, changes that can lead to depression include:

  • loss of independence and increasing reliance on others
  • not being able to go out alone
  • not being able to do the things previously enjoyed
  • not being able to do everyday tasks
  • feeling anxious or agitated
  • confusion and loss of memory.

Depression is three to four times more common in people with dementia than in older people without dementia. However, it can go unrecognised for a number of reasons:

  • It’s often incorrectly assumed it’s ‘normal’ for older people to be depressed, especially those with dementia.
  • It can be difficult to distinguish symptoms of depression from those of dementia.
  • There can be problems communicating with doctors and people providing care, or there may be difficulties in describing symptoms.

Am I depressed?

Depression can be even more difficult to diagnose in yourself when you also have dementia. If you have any concerns, you should discuss them with your whānau and doctor because depression is treatable. Medication and/or therapy, such as counselling, cognitive therapy and behavioural interventions, could help you.

People with dementia talk about how being out and about in green spaces is good for mental health.

  • Booklet: Living well with dementia Thumbnail Image

    Booklet: Living well with dementia

    A guide for people diagnosed with dementia

    This booklet is written for people who have been diagnosed with dementia to give you information and to help you continue to live well.

    The booklet suggests ways to look after yourself including how to adjust to change and managing your day, as well as working, driving, keeping involved and active and planning for the future.