Depression is about twice as likely to occur in dementia patients as the elderly in general. Along with depression comes weight loss, lethargy, and a host of symptoms and behaviors that are likely to lead to earlier decline and placement in nursing homes. Moreover, since we are not looking for it or think it is a normal response in dementia, the majority of cases are undiagnosed and untreated.
Fortunately a tool exists for detecting and quantifying this disease in those suffering from dementia. Its called the Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia (CSDD) and it is a 19 question tool that health care practitioners can use instead of spot evaluation or subjective observations by caregivers.
Just like in the general population, once diagnosed, depression can be treated in those with dementia. Dementia is a tough enough disease, there’s no reason or justification for allowing another disease if it can be prevented.