Warning Signs of Caregiver Depression
First, let’s start by talking about the warning signs of caregiver depression. For most people, the early warning signs include:
- Being quick to anger
- Problems with sleep – sleeping too much or insomnia
- Overwhelming fatigue
- Feeling worthless and inadequate
- Unintended weight gain or weight loss
- Difficulty making decisions
- Digestive problems
- Feeling resentful of the loved one you care for
If more than one of these describes how you are feeling, you might be suffering from depression. It is best to schedule an appointment with your family practice physician to get their advice.
Preventing Caregiver Depression
Even if you don’t meet the clinical definition for depression, you should be aware that caregivers as a whole are at increased risk for developing it. Some steps you can take now to prevent it are:
- Asking for and accepting help from others
- Using respite services from home care providers
- Taking advantage of adult day programs in your area
- Getting exercise such as walking or riding your bike
- Learning how to meditate or practice yoga
- Practice journaling a few minutes each morning or at bedtime
- Find time for a good laugh each day maybe with a funny sitcom or cat video on You Tube
- Stay in touch with friends and loved ones
- Join an online support group
If you have questions about caregiver depression or would like to learn more about preventing it, the Family Caregiver Alliance has a variety of resources that can be of help.
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