Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Managing Care Giver Depression

A more common occurrence than you might imagine, many caregivers experience a level of depression that may interfere with their daily lives. The responsibilities that weigh on a caregiver's shoulders are immense, and the sense of accountability can be magnified if they are caring for a member of their family. Providing care itself is not a cause of depression, but this condition can occur when caregivers sacrifice their own wellbeing for the needs of elderly loved ones.
The key to addressing caregiver depression is to recognize its signs and how to fix it. Here are some of the signs of depression that you should look out for if you or a loved one are providing home care for an elderly individual:
·         Fatigue
·         Altered eating and sleeping habits
·         A loss of interest in commonly enjoyed activities
·         Irritability
·         Feelings of inferiority
·         Suicidal thoughts
·         Physical symptoms, such as headaches, that are not associated with another health issue
If you recognize any of these symptoms in your own behavior, or suspect that you may be suffering from caregiver depression, it is important to address this condition quickly. Not only will treating your depression make you feel better, it will allow you to provide a better quality of care to your elderly loved one. Treatment does not necessarily involve pharmaceuticals. Try these suggestions and, if they do not work, seek medical assistance:
·         Don't expect too much of yourself. Set goals that are realistic and hold yourself accountable for achieving them.
·         Prioritize your responsibilities and approach large tasks in segments. Breaking them up will help you feel positive and productive.
·         Interact with others and confide in a trusted friend or family member. Sometimes simply talking about the pressures of being a caregiver can ease your stress.
·         Be realistic about your progress and do not expect an immediate change in your mood. Combating depression takes time.
Above all else, do not feel ashamed if you think you may have caregiver depression. This condition is common and, considering the great amount of stress you may be under, almost expected. Remember to take care of yourself and, in doing so, you will be better able to take care of your elderly loved ones.

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