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7 Depression Busters for Caregivers

Nearly 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. Here, then, 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.

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7 Depression Busters for Caregivers

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  1. Recognizing that the stress you are experiencing can sometimes lead to depression is the first step to preventing it — and burnout. To take that step, talk about your feelings, frustrations, and fears with the palliative care team’s social worker or mental health professional. Talking helps you understand what’s going on for you and for the person in your care. It helps you come to grips with the fact that you are not in total control of the situation.

  2. The pain doesn’t end, for her or for me. Learning more about her condition makes me feel worse. I MUST keep a high stress job, because it provides the salary and health insurance we need to remain independent. 15 years of this now- wondering when she will die – she has been dancing on the edge for so long. I feel brutally alone. During the week, she barely functions, while I work. During the weekend I spend time with her, lying in bed watching tv, or doing almost nothing. The depression and anxiety have been positively crippling at times, and otherwise just slightly disabling. I don’t function normally about half the time. There is no solution. I have to keep doing what I am doing, knowing that it is not healthy for me, because I just don’t see any options. I have to work. Low stress=low pay= lots of new problems. High stress= survival pay= lots of new problems.
    I don’t see any solutions. I go for walks, I try to find happiness in little things, I am grateful for the good things, but I still don’t see a way out.


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