How to fight depression as a caregiver – take charge. | downtown-houston

Posted on January 14, 2013

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One sad person with the word Help on him stands apart from the group, being rejected and needing psychological or medical attentionA recent study found that there was less depression among dementia caregivers with similar characteristics. They found fewer depressive symptoms in caregivers with

  • higher levels of education
  • larger social support networks
  • fewer health problems
  • greater likelihood of using problem-focused coping and less likelihood of wishful thinking
  • those taking care of dementia patients with fewer behavioral disturbances

What does this mean to you if you are a dementia caregiver? Only one of these is generally outside your immediate control, your education level.  Let’s examine the rest of the list.

Having a large social support network is absolutely within your grasp.  There are support groups in most communities and in cities like Houston there are scores of them.  They meet at all days and times so finding one that meets your needs is generally possible.  If you can’t get out of the house arrange for respite care.  Spend time on Facebook and Internet blogs and chat rooms and you will find that many other are experiencing what you are going through and sharing information about techniques and methods that work will help.  Attend events like “A Loving Approach to Dementia Care”, you will hear from experts and meet others who share your burden.

You need to reduce the amount of stress you are under and take care of yourself so you will have fewer health problems.  The percentage of dementia caregivers who do not outlive their patients is tragically high.  You don’t want to be a statistic so get some help.  If you can’t afford to pay for respite care call your local churches, the Area Agency on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association.  Use CareTogether to rally support for your cause, keep interested parties informed and recruit volunteers.  If the patient or spouse was a veteran and served during a time of war you can apply for benefits.  Please see our related blogs or call us,  832-730-1255, for additional information on these benefits.  Our veterans earned these benefits and we want them to benefit from them.

Do you have a greater likelihood of using problem-focused coping and less likelihood of wishful thinking? If you have never had a course in problem solving do some research and learn new skills.  Increasing caregiver ability to manage problem behaviors has been shown to increase competency and confidence and thereby decrease depression.  One study reported that caregivers who learned to manage behavior problems had significant decreases in depressive symptoms.

You can also learn to manage the behavior of the dementia patient.  As a start you can attend one of our free seminars but, if you can’t do that, get the book, “A Loving Approach to Dementia Care” from Amazon.com and read it.

And, remember, you are not alone.  Reach out and find others who can help support you.

If you want additional information on any of these topics please call us at  832-730-1255.

via How to fight depression as a caregiver – take charge. | downtown-houston.

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