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 "11 Ways to Stop Caregiver-Related Depression" 
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:46 pm
Posts: 4811
Location: SF Bay Area (Northern CA)
Post "11 Ways to Stop Caregiver-Related Depression"
This article, on AgingCare.com, was posted today to LBDcaregivers Yahoo!Group.


http://www.agingcare.com/Featured-Stori ... upport.htm

11 Ways to Stop Caregiver-Related Depression

Caregivers' risk for experiencing depression is 30 times greater than that of non-caregivers, particularly among those caring for Alzheimer's and dementia patients, according to the National Institutes on Health.

In an effort to provide the best possible care for a family member or friend, caregivers often sacrifice their own physical and emotional needs and the emotional and physical experiences involved with providing care can strain even the most capable person. The resulting feelings of anger, anxiety, sadness, isolation, exhaustion—and then guilt for having these feelings—can exact a heavy toll. But don't accept that depression is par for course as part of caregiving. It doesn't have to be that way!

Here are some ways to help combat depression.

1. Talk Back to the Negative Thoughts

Therapeudic discipline called Cognitive Behavior Therapy, states that our thoughts cause feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations and events. We can change the way we think to feel and act better even if the situation does not change. Positive thinking can replace the negative thinking that is part of depression. "Talking back to negative thoughts" such as "I'm worthless" with positive thoughts that challenge the notion "I'm not worthless, I care for a family and I am a good person" restructures negative thought patterns, so you can interpret your environment in a less biased way.

2. Participate in Life

Take a break from caregiving! No one can do it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Find some respite – from family, friends, adult day care, in-home companions, whatever it takes – and participate in activities that may make you feel better, such as going to a movie or ballgame, gardening, exercise, attending church, or going to a social event.

3. Talk to Friends

Don't go it alone. Friends are there to help you through the bad times. Don't bottle up your feelings and keep them to yourself. Try to be with other people and to confide in someone; it is usually better than being alone and secretive. Crying on a supportive friend's shoulder can have an immediate and positive impact on your mood.

4. Look into Self Help

Books can be buddies too! There are numerous books on the topic of depression and they are filled with techniques to deal with the sadness, anxiety and feelings of isolation that caregivers often experience. Visit your bookstore, or search amazon.com for depression. "Feeling Good" and "Beyond Blue" are two that come highly recommended.

5. Keep a Record

Start a diary and write down your feelings. Writing what you're feeling can provide a release for those emotions. Also, look for patterns. Do certain events, people or situations worsen your depression? One definition of suffering is doing the same thing over and over again, each time expecting different results. Next time that situation arises, you will notice if you are acting in the same way that didn't work in the past and can change that behavior.

6. Stay Busy

An inability to get through daily tasks can be a crippling symptom of depression. Feeling unable to make a decision or take a needed action can immobilize a caregiver. To overcome immobility, set realistic goals in light of the depression and assume a reasonable amount of responsibility. Break large tasks into small ones, set some priorities, and do what you can as you can.

7. Start a Project

The fastest way to get out of your head is to put it in a new project--compiling a family album, knitting a blanket, heading a civic association, taking an online course. Focusing your mind and your energy on a task makes it harder to focus on negative emotions.

8. Look for Strength in Numbers

support groups for people who suffer from depression meet in virtually every local community. Also look for groups geared towards caregivers. Knowing you are not alone in your struggles eliminates those feelings of isolation.

9. Get Professional Help

There are many treatments available for depression. Talk to your doctor about the symptoms you are experiencing and find a treatment plan that is right for you. This might include medications, counseling or both.

10. Try Supplements

Studies show that several natural supplements on the market today have been very effective in treating depression.

St. John's wort - St. John's wort is the most thoroughly researched of the natural antidepressants. Studies show that St John's wort consistently alleviates depression, anxiety, apathy, and sleep disturbances.

5-HTP - 5-Hydroxytryptophan - The manufacture of serotonin in the brain depends on how much of the amino acid, tryptophan, is delivered to the brain. 5-HTP can help raise serotonin levels. 5-HTP also increases in endorphin and other mood-raising neurotransmitters.

SAM-e - SAM-e boosts production and action of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters and promotes the methylation of phospholipids. Numerous clinical trials have confirmed the beneficial effects of SAMe on depression.

Ginkgo biloba - People over age 50 who are depressed may actually be suffering from cerebrovascular insufficiency, a lack of blood flow to the brain. Ginkgo biloba significantly improves blood flow to the brain.

11. Be patient

Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately. Feeling better takes time. People rarely "snap out of" a depression. But they can feel a little better day-by-day.


Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:20 pm
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:07 pm
Posts: 1039
Location: Minnesota
Post Re: "11 Ways to Stop Caregiver-Related Depression"
Number 6 cracks me up.

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Jeanne, 68 cared for husband Coy, 86. RBD for 30+ years; LDB since 2003, Coy at home, in early stage, until death in 2012


Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:26 pm
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Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:46 pm
Posts: 3213
Location: WA
Post Re: "11 Ways to Stop Caregiver-Related Depression"
When my husband was home, I found it almost impossible to do any of those things. Now that he's in a SNF, I can. Although exercise has always been my main depression-buster, I have found that finally being able to sit down with a good book is a precious gift. Currently, I am reading Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov and am enjoying it thoroughly. Such a luxury to have uninterrupted time!

I agree that number 6 is absurd. Keeping busy is part of the problem. There's nothing you can do that won't be interrupted every five minutes--or less. Number one is good--hard to practice when you're in the trenches, though.

_________________
Pat [68] married to Derek [84] for 38 years; husband dx PDD/LBD 2005, probably began 2002 or earlier; late stage and in a SNF as of January 2011. Hospitalized 11/2/2013 and discharged to home Hospice. Passed away at home on 11/9/2013.


Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:42 pm
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Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:53 am
Posts: 969
Location: Ocala, FL
Post Re: "11 Ways to Stop Caregiver-Related Depression"
The whole list makes me depressed but I agree, number 6 is the prize. Number 1 comes in second. Talking to myself hasn't started yet... but I'm probably close to doing it. (I've done a lot of muttering to God. Does that count?)

Tonight, Dale wouldn't eat his dinner because I wasn't feeding all the others. I took the tray away and promised to bring it back in an hour. However, he wasn't hungry then either. I gave up. It's a cassarole dish and it will keep.

_________________
Leone Carroll (75); wife of Dale (75) who passed away March 23, 2011


Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:46 pm
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:46 pm
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Location: SF Bay Area (Northern CA)
Post Re: "11 Ways to Stop Caregiver-Related Depression"
I do agree that it's easier to focus on your wellbeing if your family member is in a care facility or if you have private caregivers in your home...unless you are tied to visiting the care facility every day for 8-12 hours, or being at home along with the private caregivers.


Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:53 pm
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Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2010 5:28 pm
Posts: 317
Post Re: "11 Ways to Stop Caregiver-Related Depression"
I love reading these things. Most of them make no sense and you KNOW they are written by someone not doing heavy caregiving. Unlike Leone, I am already talking to myself. Mostly things that are nt able to be printed on this site.

Smiles, (as she mjutters under her breath) Nan


Wed Feb 23, 2011 9:00 pm
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:07 pm
Posts: 1039
Location: Minnesota
Post Re: "11 Ways to Stop Caregiver-Related Depression"
Number 10 sounded interesting to me. So I looked gingko up on the University of Maryland's Medical Center website. They had some positive things to say about it, but they also pointed out that the most reliable studies do not substantiate a benefit with dementia. They also list the drugs it might interact with. I am taking 2 items on that list, so I think I'll pass on the gingko, thanks. I wouldn't give it to Coy for the same reason, unless a doctor was going to monitor it.

"Try Supplements" may or may not be useful advice but I worry about these high level simplifications that make it sound like you should just wander down the health food aisles and cure yourself. It might take a tad more research than that.

_________________
Jeanne, 68 cared for husband Coy, 86. RBD for 30+ years; LDB since 2003, Coy at home, in early stage, until death in 2012


Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:05 pm
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:46 pm
Posts: 610
Post Re: "11 Ways to Stop Caregiver-Related Depression"
I think #3 (talk to friends) has to be used with caution, too. Except for my friends here on the forum, I feel like I need to govern myself not to talk incessantly about LBD issues to my friends for fear of boring them to tears or whining them to death. If you're not in the Lewy battle, there is really no way to relate!

But I agree, #6 takes the cake.

Julianne


Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:30 pm
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:07 pm
Posts: 1039
Location: Minnesota
Post Re: "11 Ways to Stop Caregiver-Related Depression"
Well, let's see. #6 made me laugh out loud the first time I read it. #10 made me angry when I looked into a little.

Assuming that laughing or being angry is preferable to being depressed, I'd say this article has already had some benefit. :lol:

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Jeanne, 68 cared for husband Coy, 86. RBD for 30+ years; LDB since 2003, Coy at home, in early stage, until death in 2012


Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:44 pm
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Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:46 pm
Posts: 3213
Location: WA
Post Re: "11 Ways to Stop Caregiver-Related Depression"
Julianne wrote:
I think #3 (talk to friends) has to be used with caution, too. Except for my friends here on the forum, I feel like I need to govern myself not to talk incessantly about LBD issues to my friends for fear of boring them to tears or whining them to death. If you're not in the Lewy battle, there is really no way to relate!

Julianne
I agree! for several years, before I joined Lewy forums [fora?] I'm sure I drove family and friends to utter distraction talking about Lewy [or, before it was diagnosed, his puzzling and sometimes violent behavior]. I'm sure that those who were not nearby thought I was exaggerating and those who knew better thought I should just leave. In either case, they simply did not understand the nature of the problem. The first time I heard discussion that resonated was my first support group meeting. [This was an AD support group but included other dementias]. I cried through the entire meeting because I was so relieved to hear the very same problems being discussed by others. I was not alone! Once we moved there was no support group but I had found the LBDA forum by then. Whew! :P

_________________
Pat [68] married to Derek [84] for 38 years; husband dx PDD/LBD 2005, probably began 2002 or earlier; late stage and in a SNF as of January 2011. Hospitalized 11/2/2013 and discharged to home Hospice. Passed away at home on 11/9/2013.


Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:50 pm
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:46 pm
Posts: 610
Post Re: "11 Ways to Stop Caregiver-Related Depression"
Pat, I understand completely. There are no support groups near me, either. And even my family, all of whom live half a continent away, had any idea what I was talking about. I really felt lost until I found the forum. It has been a year (as of yesterday, in fact) since my mother's diagnosis and I can't believe how much I have learned, mostly from the forum. What a lifeline!

Julianne


Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:03 pm
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Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:44 am
Posts: 93
Post Re: "11 Ways to Stop Caregiver-Related Depression"
I have to say that number 7 was the one that made me laugh out loud. Number 1, like Nan I already do that, and yes I cannot print what I say.
Number 6, made me realize that I am not busy enough. Sooo let me combine number 6 and 7 and maybe start being really busy by knitting blankets and taking an online course in Functional Profiling of the Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Genome. This should make me less depressed.


Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:27 pm
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Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:53 am
Posts: 969
Location: Ocala, FL
Post Re: "11 Ways to Stop Caregiver-Related Depression"
The two times Dale and I attended a 'support group' meeting at a local hospital, it was for Parkinson's... which we thought Dale had then. I was so depressed after the second session that I didn't want to attend again.

They spent all their time comparing ideas about meds and the amounts they were taking. We weren't at that stage then and I made up my mind that we would limit Dale's intake of the wide variety of stuff available. These people were not being cured. They were grasping at straws. Most were in really bad shape.

I am also glad for the information I gained on the web. We had no other advisors. I knew no one who had Dale's symptoms. He didn't have dementia then... only dizziness.

_________________
Leone Carroll (75); wife of Dale (75) who passed away March 23, 2011


Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:31 pm
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:07 pm
Posts: 1039
Location: Minnesota
Post Re: "11 Ways to Stop Caregiver-Related Depression"
Oh yeah, Bernie. But I was laughing so hard at #6 that #7 didn't get adequate attention. I figure I'll start looking tomorrow for a civic association I could head up. Come to think of it, many of them do appear to be run by persons who are not mentally well. I always thought they were in a manic episode -- who knew they were just trying to work their way out of depression?

My only experience with knitting was the scarf - 1 foot wide and 8 feet long - that I knit during a lecture class in college. So I thought of knitting my way through an online course. (I don't get enough multi-tasking in the rest of my day.) But I'll bet that wouldn't be a good combination, if you have to move the mouse around and type occasionally.

6 and 7 might, might be reasonable advice for a daughter who lives several states away from her ailing parent and who is depressed over how little she can participate in her mother's care. Rather than sitting around fretting, sitting around knitting might help. Someone whose daily life is taken up with diapering her husband or trying to keep her paranoid father hydrated or advocating for his wife while trying not to alienate the NH staff, probably wouldn't get a lot of mental health benefits from knitting. Just my layperson opinion, of course. :P

If any of you find a good civic association to head up, let us know how it works out for you. :roll:

_________________
Jeanne, 68 cared for husband Coy, 86. RBD for 30+ years; LDB since 2003, Coy at home, in early stage, until death in 2012


Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:19 am
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 4:18 pm
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Location: Acton, MA
Post Re: "11 Ways to Stop Caregiver-Related Depression"
#1 - I do talk to myself when I go to bed, I try to figure out how I could do or be better tomorrow. It does help to remind myself that I am the only one in this house that may be able to make a better day.

_________________
Gerry 67, cared for Frank 71, married 49 yrs; dx 2004, passed away October 26, 2011.


Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:21 am
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