Caregivers who take care of loved ones who have dementia or a memory disorder are the most at risk of developing compassion fatigue or depression. The pandemic and lockdown has put extra pressure on everyone, and it has been deeply felt by caregivers all over the world. Mental health needs to be a priority, for the loved ones who have dementia and those who are caring for them.
Burnout and depression in caregivers is a real problem, but it is treatable and can be prevented if you know how to spot the signs. Recognising the symptoms early enables you to learn coping strategies and get the right treatment.
What are the signs of depression in caregivers?
- Feeling hopeless, sad, and tearful
- Not enjoying what previously brought joy
- Trouble sleeping or not feeling rested after sleep
- Struggling to get out of bed or other daily tasks like bathing
- Drastic appetite or weight changes
- Anxiety or often being in an agitated state
- Trouble remembering things or concentrating
- Low self-worth
- Recurring thoughts of suicide and death
- Stress manifesting physically as stomach pains, headaches, or other unexplained problems
Lower your risk of developing depression
Many caregivers will feel that a lot of these symptoms simply go along with the difficult task of caring for a loved one who has dementia and may even avoid seeking professional help out of guilt or shame. However, depression is serious and should never be overlooked. It can affect your physical health and your ability to provide the best of care to your loved one.
There are some ways that you can lower your risk of developing depression related to dementia caregiving. Some studies show that certain factors are related to a lower risk of depression in caregivers, and we’ve listed them below:
This can come in many forms, including support groups for dementia caregivers, the help and understanding of family and friends, respite care services such as dementia day care or holiday care.
It’s important to stay active and make time for those things that bring you joy and distraction. Physical exercise helps manage stress and can treat depression. Maintain a healthy diet and get lots of sleep.
Consult a professional
A therapist can teach you effective coping strategies to help you navigate the difficulties of caregiving for someone with dementia. It’s important to have someone who you can talk to and who can understand what you are going through.
Mindfulness techniques such as meditation, yoga or creative expression can have a powerful effect on the mind. They help to reduce stress and promote a relaxed state.
Being a full-time caregiver can be very isolating, so it’s important to try and participate in your community in ways that you enjoy. It will help you to find enjoyment outside of caring and give you the energy to work through the stress.
Livewell with day and holiday care
Livewell Estates offers full day and half day care as well as holiday and overnight care if you need respite. We also host regular Wellness Talks and support groups that equip families, spouses and care providers with ways to sustain themselves when they face difficulty or need a place to connect with other caregivers.
What do we offer?
- A daily activity programme with many activities and exercises to choose from.
- Support services for people with dementia and their families.
- Nutritious meals and snacks.
- Medical and health services, if required.
- Social interaction and stimulation.
- The perfect solution for caregivers with daytime commitments.
- Safe environment with free movement.
- Pet friendly facility.