As our population ages, more and more family members become senior caregivers for their loved ones. Caregiving is rewarding but also demanding work, often without official breaks, holidays, or sick days. Additionally, it can be isolating and stressful, leading to depression.
Studies have shown that depression is much more common among caregivers than the general population. Astonishingly, close to 50% of informal caregivers who provided care for more than 40 hours a week were diagnosed with symptoms of depression according to a study published in 2023.
Of course, not all caregivers will develop depression, but the reality is that caring for an aging loved one who can not perform their daily activities independently or is experiencing cognitive decline or dementia can take its toll on a person.
If you suspect that you may be suffering from depression, reading this article might give you some ideas on how to deal with it. Contacting us at Amy’s Eden can provide relief in your daily tasks as we can support you in your caregiving journey with respite care, sitting service, or in-house caregiving.
Depression is a serious condition that can affect all aspects of a person’s life and cause severe damage to their health, relationships, job, and sense of well-being.
Depression can be defined as the emotional response to a persistent feeling of frustration and disappointment.
Generally, the weaker forms of depression can not be discerned from experiencing loss or dissatisfaction. Severe depression, however, can lead to suicide attempts, psychological and interpersonal problems, or unemployment.
Every person may experience depression in a different way and to a different degree. If untreated, this condition can progress and become more challenging to manage. Therefore it is crucial to know what can cause depression to occur, what signs to look for, and what to do if you feel depressed.
As a caregiver, you are highly dedicated to helping your beloved senior, but you may neglect some of your personal needs in the process.
This could mean that
If one or more of the statements listed above becomes a constant in your life, you may be at risk of developing depression.
Adding to these might be worries about the condition of your older loved one such as:
and so on, can bring you further distress.
Depression is a dire condition that, until recently, our society used to dismiss and not consider life-threatening. However, today this attitude has generally shifted, and depression is regarded as serious but treatable, especially if it is diagnosed early on.
At Amy’s Eden, we believe that being aware of the signs and symptoms of depression in caregivers is crucial for its early diagnosis and successful treatment.
If you notice any of the following symptoms persisting for more than 15 days, you should make an appointment to see a professional.
In addition to consulting with a health specialist, there are some coping strategies directed toward decreasing stress levels and maintaining your mental health that you can adopt.
Before going into advice on how to prevent getting depressed or manage this condition without medication, it is imperative to mention what you can do if you or someone you know is having self-harming or suicidal thoughts.
Prevention can save lives! The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is a network of crisis centers that provide free and confidential support to people at risk of suicide or other emotional crises. It is operational 24 hours daily, seven days a week, at phone number 988.
The following are ways you can prevent and manage depression.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one of the best ways to prevent depression from creeping in is to take care of your physical health. This means observing the following:
Asking for help can sometimes be challenging, but it does not show weakness. Your family may feel excluded and reluctant to offer their help because you look like you have everything under control. Talk with them about your struggles, and ask for their advice or contributions.
And if that is not possible, find support groups for caregivers around you. No man is an island. We all need to feel heard and understood. Plus, one can learn a lot from others’ experiences.
Don’t push your friends away, even if you have time for them only occasionally. Stay in touch, schedule some hangouts, and do not be reluctant to share your experiences with them.
Sharing the responsibility of caregiving with someone who has had professional training and experience can be extremely useful. In addition, at Amy’s Eden, we are constantly striving to find the perfect match between a caregiver and a care recipient. If you aren’t sure what kind of care is best for your loved one, please contact us to schedule a call.
After being diagnosed with depression, your healthcare provider will probably assign psychological treatment accompanied by antidepressant medications. Today, in 2023, mental health specialists believe that simply taking antidepressants is not enough to combat this condition. Psychotherapy is a vital part of the treatment process as it can help you understand your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It can also aid you in overcoming negative thoughts and creating a positive self-image.
Other forms of therapy, suggested by Medical News Today, include taking
Being a caregiver to an aging loved one is a noble, worthy, and satisfying duty. However, it can also be demanding and often stressful work. Caregivers can develop symptoms of depression over time, and it is important to be aware that this is not uncommon.
Knowing what to look for and how to protect your own mental health will arm you with the tools to prevent or take measures on time so that you can stay on top of your health and continue to be able to provide care for your loved ones.
Realizing that you need help and finding respite with Amy’s Eden is as easy and quick as a phone call. Contact us today to schedule a meeting or find a caregiver for in-home care for your beloved!
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