Every day, family caregivers face a set of gruelling expectations. Family caregivers are expected to display stamina, composure, tolerance, strength, and support.
The fact that many of these expectations are self-imposed does not reduce the pressure that many of these caregivers feel on a regular basis. For some family caregivers, this pressure combines with stress and personal challenges to produce depression. Below is a look at the prevalence of depression among family caregivers and 6 strategies to help prevent depression from developing.
Symptoms of depression can be more difficult to recognise in people who care for family members because they often mirror symptoms of caregiver burnout. According to results of the Stress and Wellbeing in Australia Survey 2013, caregivers were more likely than non-caregivers to report depressive symptoms. Below are some symptoms of depression and burnout to look for in caregivers:
People who care for beloved family members often try to do too much. They assume too many responsibilities and are often reluctant to accept help from others. Here are some tips to help you establish some limits and stick to them:
As a family caregiver, you should openly talk with your loved ones about your role and the evolution of your relationship. As a loved one’s condition progresses, this open communication can help make it easier for you to openly acknowledge that you are unable to take on an increasing level of responsibility.
You will not be able to fulfill your role as a caregiver if you are overwhelmed by stress, fatigue, or depression. Here are some simple steps to follow to help prevent depression or burnout from setting in:
In addition to reporting higher levels of depressive symptoms, caregivers are more prone to reporting problems with familial relationships and to indicate that stress is impacting their physical health. These problems often co-exist and can lead to major depression if not treated. Below are some ways for caregivers to improve their relationships and help prevent major depression from developing:
Respite care is a solution that provides ailing individuals an opportunity to engage with others in a group setting. At the same time, caregivers are able to take a break from their responsibilities. Adult day care provides a secure environment, so caregivers do not have to worry about their loved ones not receiving the proper attention.
Clearly, caregivers need to be aware that they are at an increased risk for depression. By recognising personal limitations and seeking help from professionals when necessary, you can help prevent depression from developing.