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12 Depression Busters for Caregivers

By Therese J. Borchard
Associate Editor

12 Depression Busters for CaregiversNearly one-third of people caring for terminally ill loved ones suffer from depression according to research from Yale University. About one in four family caregivers meet the clinical criteria of anxiety. And a recent study found that 41 percent of former caregivers of a spouse with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia experienced mild to severe depression up to three years after their spouse had died.

Caregivers are so vulnerable to depression because they often sacrifice their own needs while tending to their loved one and because of the constant stress involved.

So here are 12 tips to help protect you from anxiety and depression and to guide you toward good mental health as you care for a relative.

3 Comments to
12 Depression Busters for Caregivers

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  1. No one, and I repeat this up front, NO ONE can be a 24/7 caregiver to anyone, especially someone who has dementia. All the patients over the years who have come to my office and related this role, I have had to say firmly but respectfully, someone else has to step in and be a support to the caregiver.

    What was the stat I read earlier today somewhere, that by 2030 that 30 million Americans will be diagnosed with dementia? This is what we strive for to live to 85 or more? And how many people think Aricept or Namenda are going to cure this illness? Guess what, too many do!

  2. How do you schedule a break when your relative has to go to ER or dr calls because Medicaid made a mistake or your relative has to go to the bathroom now? Or when you literally must meet a care deadline or do 14 hours of work in 3 hours?
    And solicit help from friends and family?? They always have something else to do or lie or are too busy or there is no other family
    Obviously you have never been a caregiver…no one knows how severe the situation really is for caregivers,because the suggestions for self care just don’t work.

  3. This suggestions are well-meaning and could possibly work in a perfect situation. I’ve been a caregiver to my mentally ill daughter since 2006. Though she’s doing much better now, when her symptoms first manifested, our lives were turned upside-down. I live in an area where mental healthcare is lacking and moving to another area is not really an option due to my husband’s much needed job. We have very little family. Both of my parents passed away when I was in my 20s and the rest of our family is scattered all over the US.I had to quit my 18 year career as a teacher to stay home with my daughter. Her unpredictability made sleeping for any long period of time impossible and I certainly couldn’t have gotten out of the house to take an exercise class or get counseling help for myself on how to cope with my situation. Now that she’s doing better and has some independence, things aren’t as bad. However, I find myself extremely anxious that her psychotic symptoms, manic periods, or depression will manifest again. I’m constantly observing her behavior for signs. It’s maddening and I know I’ll have to deal with this for the rest of my life. I’ve reached out to NAMI and they are a bit of help, but there is really no way of getting a break or feeling like life can be normal. I no longer have friends because I’ve not been able to make time for them. We had to downsize to a low-income neighborhood for us to afford for me to stay home, and most of my neighbors are rather shady (with police visiting their house often.) It’s just really hard.

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