There's a long list of things that can cause depression. Illnesses, memory loss, poor diet, loss of a loved one, change in routine, and medication are just a few.
Depression and dementia have similar symptoms, so how do you know if your elderly loved one is depressed or if their actions and emotions are results of another illness? Helpguide.org outlines the specific differences to help you better determine what your loved one is going through:
“In depression there is a rapid mental decline, but memory of time, date and awareness of the environment remains. Motor skills are slow, but normal in depression. Concern with concentrating and worry about impaired memory may occur.
On the other hand, dementia symptoms reveal a slow mental decline with confusion and loss of recognizing familiar locations. Writing, speaking and motor skills are impaired and memory loss is not acknowledged as a being problem by the person suffering dementia.”
If you expect your aging loved one is falling into depression, you should consult their physician immediately.