Family caregivers are special people. They spend an average of 24 hours each week performing tasks for their loved ones, including cooking, cleaning, organizing medical care, and so much more. Many caregivers will tell you that, though it is difficult, they love what they do. There’s something to be said for knowing that your aging relative is receiving excellent care and ending the day knowing you made a difference in their life. However, being a caregiver can leave you vulnerable to developing depression. In fact, approximately 60 percent of family caregivers have symptoms of depression. Because of the high risk of developing depression, it’s important that caregivers be aware of the signs and know what they can do to prevent depression.
Not everyone who is depressed will have the same symptoms. But, there are some general symptoms you can watch for, including:
- Changing your regular eating habits, which may cause you to either gain or lose weight.
- Sleeping too much or not sleeping enough.
- Outbursts of anger or becoming irritable over minor things.
- Feeling sad, crying easily, or feeling hopeless.
- Not being interested in activities and hobbies you used to enjoy.
- Feeling anxious or restless.
- Thinking about death or suicide.
- Physical ailments, like headaches or pain, that aren’t helped by treatment.
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
Tips for Preventing Depression
It’s important for caregivers to take steps to prevent themselves from becoming depressed. Some things you can do to avoid it are:
- Ask for Help: Talk to friends and family members about ways they can help you with caregiver duties. It can help to keep a list of tasks that you feel comfortable handing off so that when someone offers help you can give them specifics about what you need. If you do not have friends or family members who can help, consider contacting a home care agency for help.
- Join a Caregiver Support Group: A support group is a safe place to talk about your feelings and discuss what it’s like being a caregiver with others who have been there. It can help to know you are not alone.
- Take Care of Yourself: Don’t neglect your own physical and mental health. Take the time to exercise and eat healthy meals. Also, make time to continue connecting with friends and family and do the things you enjoy.
It’s normal for all people to feel sad now and then. However, if you are depressed, the symptoms are persistent, lasting most of the day and going on for days, weeks, or months at a time. Caregivers who recognize the above symptoms in themselves should see a doctor. Depression is treatable.
IF YOU OR AN AGING SENIOR ARE CONSIDERING IN HOME CARE SERVICES IN BOISE, ID, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT HOME HELPERS HOME CARE OF BOISE. CALL US: (208) 322-2668.
SERVING BOISE, MERIDIAN, KUNA, EAGLE IDAHO AND SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES