Now What? Defining the 3 D's: Dementia, Delirium, & Depression

When we notice symptoms of memory loss, mood changes or cognitive impairment in the elderly, we often think first of dementia. But those can also be symptoms of delirium or depression, and have different causes. Accurate diagnosis and treatment is essential. For families and caregivers, understanding the differences between dementia, delirium and depression can vastly improve outcomes and quality of life for all involved.

In this 12th installment of the Now What? series, Dr. Anna Fisher is joined by Dr. Daniel Murman, M.D., who conducts clinical and health services research focused on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and related neurodegenerative disorders. They discuss the definitions of the "Three D's", and provide case studies, information, and practical advice on recognizing and addressing these conditions.

Now What? is an award-winning NET Connects presentation in produced partnership with the Consortium of Dementia Alternatives.

Panel of Experts

Dr. Anna Fisher serves as the Hillcrest Health Services health, quality, and nursing services education expert. She is responsible for the implementation of educational and quality improvement programs following the identification of clinical needs, competency exams, and supporting the need for high quality of care for diverse business lines that include assisted living, memory support, adult day services, home health care, palliative, hospice, post-acute, and skilled nursing care. 

Dr. Fisher is also an adjunct professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at Bellevue University and teaches in the Masters-Health Administration Program. She was awarded the prestigious Maenner Award for Professorship of the Year in 2012. In 2015, she received the APEX Award for Excellence in Health & Medical Writing by Nursing2015, for an article she co-authored entitled, "Best Practices for Engaging Patients with Dementia."

Dr. Fisher is co-producer of the NET Connects series, Now What?, about elder care and dementia. The program series received a 2014 Nebraska Broadcasters Association Silver Award in the Service to Community category and a 2012 Nebraska Broadcasters Association Bronze Award of Excellence in the category of Service to Community.

Dr. Fisher is currently President of the Consortium of Dementia Alternatives and Vice President of the Montessori International School of the Plains. She is a certified dementia practitioner, licensed nurse, and holds an undergraduate degree in human resources, graduate degree in business management, and a doctorate in health administration.


Dr. Daniel Murman is a Professor with the Department of Neurological Sciences at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. This institution is also where he received his medical education and he graduated with research honors. His postgraduate training included a Residency in Neurology and a Fellowship in Cognitive Disorders/Geriatric Neurology at the University of Michigan Hospitals in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  While a fellow, Dr. Murman completed a masters degree in Clinical Research Design and Biostatistical Analysis form the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. 

Prior to his work at UNMC, Dr. Murman was an Assistant and Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology and Ophthalmology at Michigan State University.  Dr. Murman joined the faculty at UNMC in 2004.  His research interests include clinical and health services research focused on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and related neurodegenerative disorders. Clinical interests include the care of patients with neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Frontotemporal Dementia, Parkinson’s Disease and Huntington’s Disease.   Dr. Murman is currently the site-PI for three national clinical trials for patients with Alzheimer's disease, including the Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic AD (the A4 study), the Expedition 3 trial for patients with mild AD, and the Nobel Study for patients with mild to moderate AD.