March 14, 2014

Caregiver Depression: A Silent Health Crisis

Every day you wake up, get dressed and immediately attend to your dying father’s needs. You feel as if you have not focused on yourself or your marriage in months, but now is not the time to dwell on your needs. You have a father who is dying and needs your care.

Becoming someone’s primary end-of-life caregiver is a selfless act, but it can sometimes consume the caregiver’s life. Caring for your father is important, but your physical and emotional health are more important because if you are not healthy, then you cannot care for your father.

Caregiver depression is a silent health crisis and needs to be addressed. It is normal to experience times of sadness, but if you notice a change in your social life or physical health, it may be time to seek professional help.

The following are signs of caregiver depression.

  • A change in eating habits that result in unintended weight loss or gain.
  • Feeling of tiredness all the time.
  • Withdrawing from social interactions.
  • Becoming easily angered or saddened.
  • The feeling that you are not a good enough caregiver or nothing you do is good enough.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide.

If you notice any of these signs, it is best to seek help immediately. Your father is important, but you are more important. Providing care for a loved one at end-of-life is a noble duty, but do not let it negatively impact your own life. The benefits of caregiving should always outweigh the side effects.