Mental well-being and depression in dementia

Mental health and wellbeing is as important as physical health and wellbeing for people living with dementia.

Mental wellbeing

When someone has dementia, they need:

  • reassurance that they are still valued and that their feelings matter
  • freedom from as much external stress as possible
  • appropriate activities and stimulation to help them remain alert and motivated for as long as possible
  • the opportunities to engage in activities that are meaningful and important to them
  • healthy social interaction and relationships with others.

Depression and anxiety

A certain amount of depression or anxiety is very common in people with dementia - particularly in the early stages, when they may be aware of their declining abilities. Those around them can help in the following ways:

  • If they are able to talk about what is troubling them, listen and show that you are trying to understand their feelings. Do not brush their feelings aside or attempt to 'jolly them along' - their feelings are very real.
  • Offer affection, reassurance and support.
  • If you feel that the person is extremely depressed or anxious, ask the GP for advice - the sooner the better.

Further reading