Studies have shown in America today that caregivers of elderly and sick patients are at increased risk of having depression because of high levels of perceived stress, poor quality of sleep, and burden. This burden can include financial strain, home confinement, changes in the relationship with the care recipient, noncompliance of the patient, demands of caring for the patient, and having little time for oneself. Many older people suffer from depression, but they are not aware of it and think it’s just a part of their aging process. Therefore, the symptoms of being depressed are ignored and remain untreated.
The Elderly didn’t want to talk about depression which is contrary for caregivers who share their personal experiences, feelings, and frustrations in caring for the sick and elderly. This becomes an outlet for them to ease the pain in their heart because of the sad happenings while doing their work as a caregiver.
Why am I saying this? Because I know how it feels and how hard it is to provide professional help for other people because I have a cousin who has been working for more than six years in Singapore as a caregiver and her job was not easy because she’s assigned to take good care of mentally ill patients which make it more difficult than taking care of a normal elderly.
This scenario also applies within your family; although you have responsibilities to your loved one, you need to remember not to neglect yourself. If left unchecked, stress can lead to or be a symptom of depression.
Treating depression in the elderly is important to avoid more complications and additional health problems. For instance, not getting dressed, not getting out of the house, and getting exercise can lead to hypertension, diabetes, and earlier deterioration of the heart, lungs, bones, muscles, etc. However, with proper identification of depression in the elderly, it can be treated and resolved, improving their sense of well-being and physical health. In many cases, treatment can turn their lives around.
A conservative estimate reports that 20 percent of family caregivers suffer from depression, twice the general population’s rate. Also, those who have already quit their caregiving job may not recover quickly from their current condition. For example, a recent study found that 41 percent of former caregivers of a spouse with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia experienced mild to severe depression up to three years after their spouse had died. In general, women caregivers experience depression at a higher rate than men.