HONOLULU (KHON2) — Depression, delirium and dementia are common mental disorders experienced by older adults.

For Kupuna Caregiver KHON2 News takes a look at these conditions that every caregiver should know about.

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They’re the three Ds that share similar characteristics but are very different in how to address them.

Emelyn Kim of Elder Care 808 teaches a seminar on how to recognize the differences.

“All of a sudden, mom is not acting right; and it’s just kind of out there like this is something really shocking, off the wall, saying all these comments or not herself,” said Kim.

Delirium is usually observed as a sudden change in behavior.

Delirium can be caused by a variety of reasons… like reaction to any medication, and shows up within hours or days.

Dementia is a group of conditions, with symptoms that include memory loss, limited social skills, and impaired thinking abilities that interfere with daily functioning. Dementia is caused by damage or loss of nerve cells and their connection in the brain and is a gradual condition.

“You look at the person who maybe has dementia and always like to watch tv,” said Kim. “But then, she starts to withdraw; and she doesn’t want to really eat her favorite food. Or she’s not interested in watching the Korean soap drama she always likes.”

These are also symptoms similar to depression, the third d. But depression often shows up over days or weeks.

“They don’t want to do what they normally enjoy doing.” said Kim “They’re withdrawing from participating with other people; they just want to stay in bed and sleep.”

Confusing? Yes. Which is why caregivers should stay aware of any changes.

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“But as long as the caregiver, the family caregiver, understands who that person is, what is their norm and whether there is a difference,” added Kim. “They should give their doctor a call and say, hey, this is happening now.”