October is National Depression and Education Month, where helpful organizations work to spread the word about the devastating mental health condition known as depression. While elderly adults are a high risk for depression, family caregivers of aging relatives may also develop depression at a higher rate than other adult their age. The demands of caregiving can take a toll on even the most helpful and patient person, leading to chronic stress and depression.
Working with an elderly family member has its rewards, but it can also be frustrating and short on time for themselves. It’s important for family caregivers to learn what they are up against if they hope to have any chance of combatting depression.
Here are a few tips that family caregivers can implement so they can avoid the worst of depressive triggers and educate themselves on how to prevent it.
Stay Physically Healthy
Taking care of elderly relatives often means neglecting their own physical health. It’s important to eat nutritious meals, exercise and stay social with friends and family members. If it’s hard to find time to focus on themselves, family caregivers should consider hiring a home care provider to give them proper respite.
Develop a Positive Attitude
There are plenty of good things to gain when taking care of a dependent elderly relative. It’s easy to sink into negative thoughts and to lash out at those nearby. However, by focusing on all the positives, family caregivers can develop deeper family bonds and then they’ll take great pride in keeping their aging loved one happy and safe.
Schedule Regular Time Off
Family caregivers need time to do other things that aren’t related to caregiving. That’s why it’s the ideal situation to have a dependable professional with experience in caring for aging adults, such as a home care provider. When family caregivers have time to focus on other things in their life, they can achieve balance physically and emotionally.
Share Feelings Regularly
Too many family caregivers feel they need to shoulder all the responsibilities of caregiving on their own. This can lead to bottled-up emotions and rising stress. Family caregivers need to find someone they can talk to regularly about their feelings, such as a family member, spouse, home care provider, or therapist. Validating thoughts and feelings and helping family caregivers see things from another perspective is an asset when looking after an aging relative.
Thanks to National Depression and Education Month, family caregivers have a chance to look at their own situation and make changes, so they don’t become tangled up in depression related to caregiving. If they recognize the symptoms of depression in themselves, family caregivers need to take the appropriate steps for treatment. Family caregivers need to be physically and mentally healthy to provide the best care for senior relatives.