Caregiver Support

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Importance of Self-Care for Caregivers

Michelle C. Hudson, MA, Psychology Intern

Caregiving and Loss of Self Focus

• Sacrifice own physical and emotional needs

o Sleep deprivation, poor eating habits, failure to exercise, failure to rest when ill, postponement of own medical appointments

o Feelings of anger, anxiety, sadness, isolation, exhaustion, guilt

Health Impacts

• Chronic Health Problems (Hyperlipidemia, hypertension, obesity) & Earlier Death

• Caregiving spouses, ages of 66 and 96, experiencing mental or emotional strain, have a risk of dying that is 63 percent higher than that of people who are not caregivers

• Increased risk of excessive alcohol, tobacco and other drug use

• 49 to 56% of caregivers are clinically depressed

Symptoms of Depression

• Depressed mood most of day, nearly every day (sad, empty)

• Loss of interest in activities that use to bring enjoyment

• Change in eating habits; Significant weight loss/gain

• Change in sleep patterns (too little vs too much)

• Fatigue/Loss of energy

• Feelings of Worthlessness, Guilt

• Difficulty concentrating or making decisions

• Thoughts of death, suicide

Factors Associated with Increased Rates of Depression

• Caring for loved one with dementia

• Women 2x more likely to experience depression than men

• Lack of sleep

• Placement in care facility

o Loneliness, guilt, which can last for up to 3 years after placement

Interventions

Medical/Mental Health:

• Schedule physical exam with primary care provider

• Talk with mental health provider (psychologist, psychiatrist, clinical social worker, etc.)

Identify Personal Barriers (Unhelpful Beliefs):

• (e.g., Selfish to put own needs first, Have to prove that worthy of love, I am responsible for my husband’s health)

Reducing...
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