Estimates show that up to half of the people with dementia are depressed. Some research shows that depression is a risk factor for dementia, and other studies show that depression may in fact be a complication of the condition.
Now a new study from researchers at the University of Manchester in the U.K. has found that depression among people with dementia may be more common if they are cared for at home rather than if they reside in a long-term care setting.
The researchers studied people in several countries, including England, Germany, France, and Sweden who have severe dementia. They monitored symptoms of depression and also collected information about quality of life and daily activities like bathing, feeding, and getting dressed. The results showed that 23% of people with dementia who were living in long-term care settings had symptoms of depression, whereas 37% who were cared for at home were depressed.
The lead author of the study said the difference in depression rates could be partly due to the fact that family caregivers provided the responses, and they tend to be more stressed about symptoms of depression than professional health care workers, so this stress may have been reflected by their responses about their loved one's depressive symptoms.
Researchers hope that these study results will help spur more support for caregivers of people with dementia. They also hope results will lead to more education about depressions so that people can spot symptoms earlier.