CambridgeACT on Alzheimer’s: Feeling depressed … There is hope

The CambridgeACT on
Alzheimer’s Survey Team
In an effort to raise awareness, educate our community, reduce the stigma associated with Alzheimer’s disease and assist families who have been touched by Alzheimer’s disease, this month’s article will highlight what to look for when you are having more “black cloud” days than “sunny days.”
If you are caring for someone it is possible that you are experiencing significant lifestyle changes and a reversal of family roles. Sometimes the stress of care-giving can trigger depression. Dealing with loss, change, loneliness or a chronic medical condition can feel overwhelming.

Ask yourself:
• Have you been feeling down, depressed, or hopeless?
• Do you have little interest or pleasure in doing things you used to enjoy?
• Do you feel nervous or “empty?”
• Do you have feelings of guilt or feel worthless?
• Are you restless or irritable?
• Do you feel no one loves you?
• Do you feel that life is not worth living?

Or if you are:
• Sleeping more or less than usual.
• Eating more or less than usual.
• Having persistent headaches, stomach aches or chronic pain.
If you answered “yes” to three or more of these questions, and have been feeling sad for more than two weeks, you may be suffering from a real medical condition. Pick up the phone and talk with your doctor today.
Depression is not a normal part of aging. Many people are hesitant to seek help for depression because they think it comes with age or they think they can pull themselves out of it. Depression is a medical condition like diabetes or heart disease that can be treated with medication and/or talking with a counselor. Most people can be treated effectively and their symptoms relieved within a few weeks.

Here are a few Health and Wellness reminders:
• Check your medications. Medication side effects can affect your mood. Tell the doctor about all the medications you are taking including over-the-counter, vitamins and herbal supplements.
• Limit alcohol consumption. Alcohol can cause depression. Mixing drugs and alcohol can cause reactions and low moods can be aggravated.
• Stay connected. Talk with a trusted friend or family member. Get a pet or pick up a new hobby. Participate in activities you enjoy. Make new friends.
• Be active. Regular exercise can improve your mood and physical health.
• Eat healthy and drink plenty of liquids. Choose healthy plant based foods and snack to boost your energy and nutrition; nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits. Make eating a social activity. Invite friends and family in for a simple shared meal.
• National Hopeline, 1-800-784-2433
NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Minnesota is offering a class: Grey Matters: Depression in Older Adults coming up Feb. 16, 10-11 a.m. in Mora at the Life Enrichment Center Eastwood Senior Living, 160 Vahalla Circle. For registration or information contact Debbie at [email protected]
For more information about the CambridgeACT on Alzheimer’s call Julie Tooker at 763-691-6192.
For caregiver support and information about local resources contact Jayne Mund at 763-689-8811.
Your input and assistance is valuable. Let’s ACT together to create and sustain a dementia friendly community. There is Hope. There is Help.

Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Group
Alzheimer’s Support Group meets the third Tuesday of the month from 10-11:30 a.m. at Mill Ridge Terrace, 235 Fern St. N., Cambridge, MN 55008. Contact Molly Carlson for more information at [email protected] or call 763-691-6172
Alzheimer’s Association, Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter, www.alz.org/mnnd, 800-272-3900, 24 Hour Helpline.
Source: MN Board of Aging