I am the 24/7 caregiver for my husband who has had a stroke. I have a herniated disc, breast cancer and many other issues. I have tried a few antidepressants and they have horrid side affects or they are not suggested for someone my age. Can someone suggest a antidepressant that may be helpful. I am finding it difficult to carry on. Thank you for taking the time to read this post.
Medications can be very helpful in depression. In fact, sometimes they are essential, along with other steps to take. Is your husband being treated for depression? Living with someone with clinical depression can really bring you down (as you know!) Two of you in the same household are bringing each other down.
If your husband is being treated for depression, would it be fair to say the treatment isn't working?
My suggestion would be for both of you to see a geriatric psychiatrist. They are medicine managers and they are trained and experienced with how the brain changes with age. Even if you have to go some distance to consult with this kind of specialist, I think it would be worthwhile. If that is not possible, try to find a psychiatrist who works a lot with elders. I think it is kind of hit or miss talking to a GP about depression.
Here are some other steps that can help, talk about them with the doctor you consult:
1. Get out in the sunshine every day.
2. Take vitamin D3 supplements if yours is low. (Simple blood test can determine that.) In some parts of the country even being out in the sunshine a lot isn't enough, because of the angle of the sun in that location. The pills are tiny, easy to swallow, and inexpensive.
3. Consider light therapy. This involves sitting in front of/near a special light box for a specified length of time each day (such as 20 minutes or an hour, etc.) A psychiatrist can advise you on this.
4. Exercise most days. This can be a walk or chair exercises you can follow along from a video. Anything that moves your body.
5. Don't isolate yourself. I know you are seldom alone, but being with another depressed person isn't better than being alone for this purpose. Invite a friend or relative over for a cup of tea and cookies. If you see your neighbor picking up her mail at the curb, go out and get yours and chat with her a few minutes. Can your husband be on his own for an hour or so? If not, it is essential you get some in-home help so that you can go off and be with people who aren't dependent on you!
6. Consider talk therapy. Talking with an objective, trained listener can be therapeutic. Psychiatrists don't do this, but they can refer you to people who do. Caveat: If you wind up with a young therapist who doesn't have clue one about caregiving, drop that and find someone else.
7. Join a caregiver support group. It is awesome to be with people who truly understand your situation! AgingCare is a good online source of this kind of support. Come often. And also see if you can find an in-person group locally.
8. Getting enough sleep is important. Is that a problem in your caregiving situation?
9. No self-help list would be complete without "eat well." Even small changes, such as eating more fruit, or eating on a regular schedule, can have an impact. Don't make such drastic changes that you feel deprived, though.
I wish you all the best. Come back and tell us how things are going. What things have you tried and what were the results? We learn from each other.
I am on a very low dose of Luvox (fluvoxamine) for fibromyalgia, but years ago was on a higher dose for depression. It was the one I found that had the fewest side effects. It is not one that is particularly popular, so your md may not have suggested it. Might be worth a try, as well as all the wonderful suggestions above.
Do come back and let us know how you are doing. I am 80 too, and a distance caregiver for my mother who is 106. I find even that challenging. Is there any way you both could go into assisted living or a seniors community? You would have more support there.
I have found Paxil, a very small dosage, works for me. I've tried others but didn't like the side effects and wasn't willing to try those pills for a month "to get use to the pill", no thanks.
Would it be possible to bring in a caregiver maybe for just 4 hours couple days a week just to give you a break, and for someone you can chat with? In my Dad's later years I hired day time and evening caregivers from an Agency, and the Agency sent out two new persons each day for a week. Dad found two caregivers to be a perfect match for him, had the same background growing up and who understood Dad's sense of humor, they were put on a regular schedule. And whenever I visited, the caregivers and I could chat up a storm :)
Another option if you and hubby can budget it, move to Independent Living where you can have a two bedroom apartment with a full kitchen and large living room. There you can even opt for a higher "care" for your hubby. Then you will be around other couples and enjoy the activities, thus making new friends.
This sure isn't how many couples envisioned their retirement to be !!
Caregiving is tough. It’s even tougher when we have our own issues to deal with. My husband is bedridden and I am responsible for his care all by myself.
Can you hire an aide to come out a few hours a week to give you a break? Medicare would pay for it if you get a script from his doctor.
I also bought NutraHerbals Organically Grown Ashwagandha with Black Pepper Extract and Himalaya Ashwagandha - because they were on sale.
I do take them morning and night and they are helping me a lot! You will dream more but they won't be bad dreams. And you waken feeling rested.