The Dedication of a Family Caregiver Brings an Increased Risk for Depression

by JFS Care
Depression
Many family caregivers suffer from depression as they dedicate themselves to others.

There’s no question that it’s a wonderful honor to care for people we love. Family caregivers encounter a closeness and connection with those in their care that very often far outweighs the difficulties. But there are difficulties, such as a never-ending to-do list to make sure the senior loved one you are providing care for is as happy and healthy as possible; household tasks and errands to manage; career obligations; the requirements of other family members and friends; and don’t forget about self-care.

The result is an often daunting level of stress that, if left uncontrolled, can very quickly become caregiver burnout and even depression, which can manifest in any or all of the following ways:

  • Feelings of anger, sadness, despair, stress
  • Difficulty with falling or staying asleep at night
  • Lack of interest in previously-loved activities
  • Eating more or less than normal
  • Delayed thinking
  • Suicidal thoughts and even attempts at suicide

This brief online assessment makes it possible to see whether you may be suffering from depression.

On the bright side, there are several simple steps you can take to reduce your chance of falling into depression:

  • First and foremost, make an appointment with your doctor for assistance
  • Refrain from isolating yourself and ensure plenty of opportunities for socialization, apart from your caregiving relationship
  • Stay active, both physically and mentally, with activities you like, such as swimming, playing a game, reading, and volunteering for a cause that is important to you personally

While it may be challenging for family caregivers to carve out the time essential for self-care, it’s imperative to the wellness of both caregivers and the seniors they care for. Too often, family caregivers feel as though they must do it all themselves – after all, they are more familiar with the older adult than anyone else, and it seems much easier to manage things independently instead of enlisting help.

An overstressed, burned out, or depressed caregiver needs dependable, reliable support – and the great news is, it is easily obtainable. A knowledgeable in-home caregiver can offer as much or as little help as necessary. Perhaps, for example, you prefer to continue to cook most of the meals for your parent – but would love some help with cleaning up the kitchen afterwards. Or maybe your parent would feel more at ease with an experienced care provider assisting with personal care needs, such as bathing and using the restroom.

At JFS Care, we understand how complicated life can become for family caregivers, and we work with families to develop a plan of care that meets each person’s individual needs. Let us assist with trusted, professional respite care. Contact us at (213) 383-2273 any time to learn more about respite care in Los Angeles and the surrounding area. Please see our full service area.