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I found that with my Dad's depression accompanied with Alzheimer's and alcoholism, I spoke with his doctor who prescribed an anti-depressant so I just include it with his medication - told him it was a vitamin. He happily takes all the med's as long as he can drink them with his non-alcoholic beer.
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Often people who are depressed think they are not important, Maybe it would be a good idea to tell your father why and how he is still important in your life as an adult. That he helps you think out problems - or however he helps you - let him know. You probably get strength and confidence knowing he is there to love and back you up. Let him know.
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Hi~ I found this article by Michele Francis---you perhaps may want to review its content:~

Many cancer patients resist seeking help for depression. Just the word therapist or psychologist has a negative meaning for them. Your father may feel that his problems "really aren't that bad." I recommend using the term counselor with him, and explaining that it's very common for cancer patients to see one. In fact, that's why hospitals and clinics have on-staff social workers with special training in oncology.

If your Dad strongly resists seeing a counselor, you could suggest he join a support group for cancer patients instead. Of course, he may resist this as well, as many older folks are very private and nervous about sharing personal experiences in a group. One strategy that often works is to present the group as a source of information. You might suggest that meeting other patients will give your mother the chance to hear about treatment options that you and she don't know about.

In my experience(MF), this is the most compelling thing you can say as a caregiver to encourage your father to get help: "It would really help me if you would go and see someone. This situation is too much for me -- I can't handle all this by myself." Your Dad may not be willing to get help for himself, but if he understands that the burden is too much for you, that may matter to him more, especially you are caring long distance.

Sometimes, unfortunately, the only thing that works is a "tough love" approach. You may have to tell your father , "I can't continue to help you unless you meet these conditions." Then you find a support group or make an appointment with a counselor and tell her that she must at least try it out if she wants you to continue as her caregiver. It sounds harsh, but you're actually helping her break through her denial about needing help.

Doing all this from afar may only add to your stress---and focusing on getting help for your Dad will most likely become a win win situation.

Most important, though, you have to take care of yourself or you can't be there for your father . All the studies show that nothing is more stressful than caring for someone who's sick. Even if you can't persuade your Dad to get help, you can get help for yourself. Your father's distress is probably adding to your own sense of guilt, frustration, and hopelessness, and you can seek support for those feelings.

Caring for a parent with cancer is an intense experience -- people are shocked by how exhausted and stressed they feel, and no one can truly understand except others who are in the same situation. Many hospitals and communities offer caregiver support groups, and I strongly recommend this to anyone who's caring for a parent with cancer. Joining one can make a big difference in your own mental health.

Best to you and to your Dad~

Hap
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pstevens, So sorry to hear this. I hate to say I disagree with others but depression is like a broken bone, you can't wish it away, or be talked out of it, it needs to be fixed. There are many safe antidepressants that work well, just have a talk with his doctor and have him prescribe them, if he hasnt already. He should go on slowly to avoid all side effects, slower than the dr says even. They work miracles believe me! Can you get him closer to you? I cant imagine a parent far away, maybe he wll move closer or with you in this terribly scary time in his life? He needs family now, he doesnt want to be alone I am sure. We have been thru it, I speak from experience,and my prayers are with you.
Luvmom
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Hi, Depression is real. What makes it real is that it comes from within the mind. It is however a choice. For example, when our thoughts take over and says you are stupid( anything negative), it is our choice to believe it or not. When we don't take control over that thought, we submit to it, then it has control and we tend to believe the lie. Surely depression is just at the corner. Whereas Dad, may have cancer, but the decision to be depressed is still a choice. If he uses the computer,send him scriptures, play games on the computer with him also, word puzzles, everything that keeps his mind from being idle and preoccupied thoughts of giving up. Call frequently and remind him of what a great father you remember and things he taught you as a child. Stay patient with him, tell him what value he brings into your life for being here for you. Encouragement is the cure! and keep Praying and so will I.
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I agree. Your dad is dealing with a hard diagnosis that brings up many difficult feelings. The best thing you can do is let him know that you love him and are available to talk if he wants a sounding board. Ask him to tell you what he needs from you now or at any time. He knows these answers better than anybody.
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I would say that keeping as much contact as possible, cards, letters phone calls really go a long way to cheering a person up. So many people live so far away from loved ones now it is part of society that those we care for are no longer just next door or across the street or town or state. Let him know you think of him and are looking forward to him doing better and will come a visit when you can (if you can). Just staying in contact will help him feel less a drift and like there are people who love and care for him and even if at a distance feel connected to him. That people are family and time and space does not destroy the bonds of love created over years of care and connection and closeness.
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