Depression in people with dementia is more prevalent in people living in the community as compared to those living in care homes.
414 people with severe dementia along with their carers in England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden were part of the study. Researchers studied quality of life, activities of daily living such as bathing, feeding and dressing and presence of depressive symptoms using standardized measures. It was found that 37% of the 217 people living in the community showed signs of depression compared to 23% of the 197 in care homes.
Lead author of the study, Professor David Challis said, "Despite the differences between the countries involved, the pattern of depression observed in the community-dwelling group was consistent. In addition this difference may be partly explained by the responses received from carers. Often, relatives of people with dementia are more distressed by symptoms of depression than professional care workers, so this may have influenced their ratings on the depression measure. What we need is more support for carers to help them cope with their relatives' depressive symptoms and to recognize the problem before it gets to severe levels."
Researchers also studied the rates of anti-depressant prescribing across the different countries. It was found that England and Spain had the highest rates, while Germany who had more people suffering from depressive symptoms, had the lowest rates of antidepressant use.
The study titled 'Depressive Symptomatology in Severe Dementia in a European Sample- Prevalence, Associated Factors and Prescription Rate ofAnti-Depressants' has been published in the journal 'International Psychogeriatrics'.