Written by Jacqueline Marcell author of Elder Rage and the host of the radio show, Coping with Caregiving, this excerpt from her article discusses the possibility of depression and it’s symptoms when caring for an aging loved one. To view the article in its entirety, go to: http://www.thirdage.com/caregiving/dont-neglect-your-own-care
While the stigma of depression is lessening, according to a National MentalHealth Association survey, many depressed individuals avoid seeking treatment out of shame or embarrasment. If you are a caregiver don’t suffer in silence waiting for theday when you will snap out of it. Witnessing the decline of a loved one is one of the hardest experiences of life. By caring for yourself with regular exercise, a healthy diet, positive self-talk, and engaging outside help so you can take breaks, your liklihood of developing depression is greatly reduced. If, however, you begin showing signs of depression, consult a health care professional promptly.
Signs of Depression
Feeling tired and listless most of the time.
Change in eating habits resulting in unwanted weight gain or loss.
Change in sleep patterns, too much or not enough.
Loss of interest in people and activities that used to be pleasurable.
Becoming easily agitated, anxious, angered, frustrated, overwhelmed.
Feeling that nothing is ever good enough.
Persistent “what’s the use” thinking.
Thoughts of death or suicide.
Ongoing physical symptoms–such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain, that don’t respond to treatment.
Support groups, friends, and family can be a great source of comfort and help for care givers who have the overwhelming responsibility of caring for aging loved ones. The assitance of a geriatric care manager can also provide additional resources, comfort and counsel, and care planning direction. To understand the profession of Geriatric Care Manager, go to: www.caremanager.org. In Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, go to: www. rgcmgmt.com for a local geriatric care management service.