I quit my job to care for my 84 year old Dad after my Mother died.

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How long ago did you give up your job, Tina?

And agreeing with Barb, unless you hated it anyway... can you get it back?
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Tina, are you currently depressed, or are you worried that you might become so, since many caregivers do? Have you been clinically depressed before? If so, I think a session or two with the health care professional who treated you then would be in order.

I do want to point out that mourning is not the same as clinical depression.

What is your main source/fear of depression? Your mother's death? Not being in the workforce any longer? Taking care of your dad? All of the above? When did you quit your job?

What kind of care does your father require? Is his mobility limited? Does he need help with some of the activities of daily living? Are there any mental health issues? How well do the two of you get along? Were you close to him growing up? Does he appreciate you being there? Knowing these things may get you some more specific answers.

In general, some of the things that help keep depression at bay include
1. Go outside every day the weather permits, ideally in the sunshine.
2. Get adequate sleep on a regular schedule.
3. Exercise. If that word isn't in your vocabulary, perhaps take a walk when you are outside. If you thrive on exercise, join a gym or group exercise sessions. But a little or a lot, do move your body!
4. Have some time for yourself everyday. If exercise is your thing, your time at the gym may meet this need. If exercise is a chore, then be sure to have some "me" time for things that you like.
5. Avoid isolation. Meet friends for coffee. Have them over. Talk on the phone or exchange texts. Take a cooking class. Do things that involve other people.
6. Eat reasonably healthy. This is probably not a good time to go on a strict diet, or become a vegan, or make any major changes to your eating habits, especially if this would add to your stress level. Depending on where you live, a vitamin D3 supplement might be advisable. Ask you doctor.
7. If you are perfectionist, cut it out! At least allow yourself some slack in your caregiving activities. Do the best you can, but don't beat yourself up if you don't think you are perfect. Nobody is!

One way to achieve some time for yourself is to enroll Dad in an adult day health program (Adult Day Care). This could be for a few hours one day a week or a full day five days a week or anything in between. Some caregivers work during this time. Some run errands and schedule their own appointments. Some sleep!

Tell us some more about your situation and your concerns. And go take a walk the next time the sun shines!

Welcome to the forum.
Helpful Answer (3)

If you have lost your Mom, you are definately going to have a stretch of time that is clouded by grief and sadness. there is no getting around it. When I lost my dad and still caring for my Mom, for the first year after his passing was truly the most intense and hardest thing I ever had to do in my life. I lived under that cloud and felt so lost everyday. I say this not to discourage you but to encourage you that it can and will get better.
With much prayer and time with God, he is bringing me through it. I have only recently begun to start to see a little clearer. And even though I think about my Dad everyday and have moments of sadness and loss, and then still needing to be there for my Mom, Jesus gives me strength.
What you are doing is an ultimate labor of love, in the most extreme circumstances. Gods grace is what we need at these times.
What a loving daughter you are. And the amount of sadness you have right now and feeling of loss, is only temporary. Take one day at a time, it will get better if you look up.
May God bless you through this. I will be praying for you.
Helpful Answer (1)

Dear Tina,

I am very sorry for your loss. It is good of you to take on your dad's care but it is a lot since you are also both grieving as well. It can be an added stress. I hope you will talk to a social worker or counsellor and ensure this is what you truly want to do. I know we all have good intentions but the day to day care over a the course of a year or many years can wear even the most good natured person down.

Try to find the right balance for you so that you can avoid anger and resentment. Make sure you have enough respite and maintain a bit of your own life.

Please know we are here with you.
Helpful Answer (2)

I'm so sorry about the loss of your dear mom!  Grieving is hard work, and when combined with a sudden change in lifestyle, it can be quite daunting to keep an even keel.

Did you quit your job because it was low paying, dead ended and you hated it anyway?

What are dad's health issues, besides arthritis? Have you and he always had a loving and cheerful relationship? Is he flexible and compliant? Does he go to adult day care or have other outside interests so that his time is occupied in some meaningful way so that you two aren't staring at the walls and each other all day long?

Finally, are you prone to depressive episodes? Have you been to see your primary care physician or perhaps to a psychiatrist for meds and a referral for talk therapy, both of which help enormously in most people with depression?
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