Family Medicine | Geriatric Medicine Questions Geriatrician

Do people with dementia get geriatric depression?

I have a mother with dementia. Can she get geriatric depression or does she not know? Do people with dementia get geriatric depression?

4 Answers

Yes. Depression with onset later in life is itself a risk factor for dementia. As the brain changes due to dementia, it predisposes individuals to depression as well as other psychological and behavioral problems.
Depression is more common in people with dementia. The person may not be able to say they are depressed but they may have other symptoms like poor appetite, lack of interest in life , insomnia amongst other possible symptoms. At times it maybe difficult to determine whether rhe symptoms are related to depression or dementia. A trial of drug treatment may sometimes be indicated. Theresa M. Redling DO, FACP Chief, Geriatric Health Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center Director, Maida Geriatric Institute Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School
Not all dementia patients are depressed, but yes, they should be screened for depression. Of course, in more advanced dementia, it is hard to screen the patient, but proper evaluation and proper family feedback helps.


Yes, you can have both or sometimes the patient only has depression and you will see a huge improvement. If you treat the depression, you'll see how this patient apparently diagnosed with dementia improved, but needs to be evaluated case by case.