July 9, 2012
Whoever said that keeping things bottled up isn’t healthy was right. In a survey conducted by the Home Instead Senior Care® network, 74 percent of caregivers who hide their feelings report fatigue, 53 percent report difficulty sleeping, 37 percent say they have experienced depression and 30 percent have experienced weight gain or loss.
In her column at CaregiverStress.com®, caregiving expert Dr. Amy D’Aprix advises a family caregiver who has gained 40 pounds because she is depressed caring for a husband with multiple health issues who doesn’t appreciate her. Her story may resonate with other family caregivers.
“I feel totally lost. I have no motivation,” says the caregiver. “But I know I have to take care of everything because I no longer have a partner that can or will help. He doesn't go anywhere with me. I work part time. I take care of his granddaughter because otherwise he wouldn't see her. If I mention that I don't want to watch her on a certain day he says it’s because she isn't my blood. He doesn't seem to realize that I need a day off now and then. I tell him, but I just can't get through to him. Is there someplace I could go to talk to someone? I don't have health insurance. I feel so lonely.”
Dr. D’Aprix advises this family caregiver to seek counseling immediately. A good option for families without health insurance is the county mental health department. “In addition to counseling, talking with people who are going through similar situations can make you feel less alone,” Dr. D’Aprix explains. “I think you might find the support of other people helpful, and I recommend a caregiver support group. Feeling lost and alone is common among caregivers, but I want to assure you that you are definitely not alone! I encourage you to look for a caregiver support group in your community. A starting point would be to do an Internet search. There are also online support groups and chat rooms for caregivers.”
Dr. D’Aprix reminds caregivers who are going through similar situations to look to both professional and peer support. “Anyone in this situation needs to know that help is available: You deserve to have more peace of mind and happiness!”
Dr. D’Aprix offers other family caregivers advice for coping with the stress of caregiving with practical tips and resources.
- U.S. Managing the Emotional Fallout of Caregiving
(PDF 5.8 MB)
- Canadian Managing the Emotional Fallout of Caregiving(PDF 5.8 MB)
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