It is not at all uncommon for a person suffering from mild cognitive impairment or mild to moderate dementia to also suffer from depression. There is enough overlap between the signs and symptoms of each disease that teasing apart the diagnoses, or verifying the presence of both, can be difficult for clinicians. And the presence of cognitive issues can make traditional treatments for depression, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), more difficult to practice.
Recently, a number of groups have worked to adjust CBT and related therapies to better suit those suffering from both dementia and depression. One is called Problem Adaptation Therapy (or PATH) and focuses on solving tangible problems that fuel feelings of sadness and hopelessness, incorporating tools like checklists, calendars, signs and videos, to make it accessible for people with memory issues. Another, called the Peaceful Mind program, developed for patients with anxiety and dementia, simplifies traditional cognitive behavioral therapy.
Here are links to five media articles on depression and dementia:
How are depression and dementia related?
Alzheimer’s or depression: Could it be both?
Depression | Alzheimer’s Association
New Therapies Help Patients With Dementia Cope With Depression
Cognitive behavior therapy for anxiety in people with dementia: a clinician guideline for a person-centered approach.
Here are three research articles dealing with Problem Adaptation Therapy (PATH) therapy:
Problem Adaptation Therapy for Older Adults With Major Depression and Cognitive Impairment
Problem Adaptation Therapy (PATH) for Older Adults with Major Depression and Cognitive Impairment: A Randomized Clinical Trial
Home-Delivered Problem Adaptation Therapy (PATH) for Depressed, Cognitively Impaired, Disabled Elders: A Preliminary Study
All links have been added to Neuro-Psych.