How can caregivers cope with the depression that results from caregiving?

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Q: Being a caregiver for my elderly mother makes me extremely depressed. I take medication for depression but it still gets a hold of me. What can I do?

A: Caring for an elderly parent is a difficult task, and many caregivers find they become extremely depressed. You've begun to address the problem by consulting your prescribing professional and starting to take an antidepressant. However, medication is only one step in the process of combating depression.

Counseling with a professional, known as psychotherapy, offers an arena and a safe place to talk with an objective, trusted third party, for problem-solving, exploring your feelings, and altering your usual responses to the things that trigger your unhappiness. Caregiver support groups (often available through local clinics, mental health services, or community organizations) can provide valuable information, encouragement, and help.

Caring for yourself by spending time with friends and doing healthy, constructive things that make you happy is also an essential part of coping with depression.

Dr. Robert Bornstein, PhD

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Robert F. Bornstein, PhD is Professor of psychology at Adelphi University, and has published more than 150 articles and book chapters in psychology. He co-authored (with Mary A. Languirand, PhD) "When Someone You Love Needs Nursing Home, Assisted Living, or In-Home Care."

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9 Comments

I share your problem. Some times are more manageable than others. I hope knowing you are not alone (as in not the only person experiencing} in your delima can offer some sort of support. There is at least one (many Im sure) person who knows your sorrows. Dont give up on YOURSELF.
Needy people = entrapment = depression.

In my personal experience, "happy pills" like Prozac, Celexa, and all that other garbage people take to escape the reality of their lives are nothing but a mask which sooner or later will have to be removed. Face -- and solve -- your problems! You'll feel a lot better about yourself as you regain the control that you used to have but now only pretend to.

-- ED
CAROL:

See if there are any Caregiver Support Groups in your area, where you can share with your peers. If the nurses overact, let them. They're getting paid; you're not. And the more you do for Mom the less they'll have to worry about and still get paid the same amount.

There's lots of articles and tips on this website. Peruse them before going into the forum.

Good luck sister, and keep coming back.