The role of a caregiver is a difficult one, and the demands of this job can result in feelings of depression. When you start to feel depressed, admitting it is the first step. Afterward, there are many things you can do to boost your emotional wellbeing. Here are five ways to manage caregiver depression.
1. Maintain a Positive Outlook
Caregivers often experience negative thoughts about their inability to care for their loved one or their own lack of worth. For caregivers who experience intrusive thoughts, it’s possible to break out of this cycle. Every time you notice yourself stuck in a pattern of negativity, pull away from these thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Repeat positive ideas like a mantra. Replace “I can’t take care of my mother” with “I work so hard to take care of my mother every single day.” Eventually, these positive thoughts will instinctively float to the surface of the mind. Caregivers who have a difficult time controlling their thought patterns may want to practice mindfulness, which can help them retrain their minds.
Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Anchorage Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
2. Socialize Regularly
Social withdrawal is one of the first signs of depression, and this symptom is exacerbated with caregivers, as their daily responsibilities leave them with little free time. Staying socially engaged is an important way to counteract depression because caregivers need friends and family members to confide in. When you can’t leave the house, turn to modern technology like Skype and FaceTime to stay connected with others.
3. Stay True to Yourself
Caregivers who live with emotional health issues often feel they’re losing their sense of individuality. Their daily duties don’t leave them with the time or inclination to pursue hobbies or passions, and their individual goals fall by the wayside. To combat this feeling of diminishment, make time for yourself. Try reading a book or spending 15 minutes a day on a hobby. Eventually, these moments of individual solace will become a habit and a new addition to the daily routine.
Consider hiring a professional caregiver if you need a break from your caregiving duties to pursue a favorite hobby. Anchorage respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.
4. Start a Journal
Keeping a record of thoughts and feelings can be an effective way to reduce feelings of depression. Look for patterns in your daily moods. Do certain things trigger negative thoughts? Perhaps you feel happiest on days when you take a walk in the park. By realizing the source of the depression, you can prevent the feeling.
5. Seek Professional Help
There’s no shame in seeking professional help. For caregivers, therapists and psychiatrists can be an invaluable resource. Therapists give caregivers the outlet they need to talk about their challenges and emotions, and they also use specific therapy styles, like cognitive behavior therapy, to help caregivers break free of unhealthy habits. Psychiatrists are a good option for caregivers seeking medications for emotional health issues.
Hiring a professional caregiver is one of the best ways to prevent depression because it allows you to delegate your caregiving duties to another person while you take time for yourself. If you are the primary caregiver for a senior family member and want additional assistance from a professional elderly caregiver, Anchorage Home Care Assistance is here to help. Our caregivers are available for a few hours a day to help seniors with daily tasks, and we also offer 24-hour live-in care for those who need more extensive assistance. To hire a professionally trained in-home care expert for your aging loved one, call us at (907) 770-0907 today.