Do you think your caregivers are at risk for depression?

One out of three caregivers suffers from depression!

Caring for a stroke survivor can command a heavy burden. Family members account for four out of five caregivers, and loved ones who care for survivors face a high risk of depression.

Who Has the Higher Depression Rate?

One out of three caregivers suffers from depression, a rate higher than stroke survivors themselves. Survivors often require 24-hour care, which can lead caregivers to experience high amounts of stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, and depression.

In addition to the demands of caring for a stroke survivor, caregivers commonly develop depression because of a lack of time for themselves, being confined to the home, changes in the survivor’s personality, and constant objection from the survivor.

Caregivers aren’t just tasked with aiding a stroke survivor with physical and cognitive functions. And the more demanding the care or severity of the stroke, the higher the rate of depression. Responsibilities can include:
• Managing family finances
• Coordinating additional care and appointments
• Independently maintaining house chores and cooking
• Providing emotional support for a survivor

Causes of Caregiver Depression

Despondency can also hinder the daily tasks related to caregiving as well as general day-to-day activities, according to a recent study presented to the American Heart Association. A diminished ability to adapt to negative life changes is another symptom of overwhelmed caregivers—that includes the difficult responsibility of caring for a stroke survivor, as well as the negative health and emotional impacts of dedicating a large majority of time to caring for someone else.

Caregivers with signs of depression shouldn’t go unnoticed. Some of the common symptoms include fatigue, weight fluctuation, self-loathing, and irritability. If you or a caregiver you know is showing signs of depression, be sure to contact a doctor.

Seek Treatment

Not only should a depressed caregiver seek treatment to improve their well-being, but it can also be beneficial for the stroke survivor for their caregivers to be healthy and happy. Another study presented at the International Stroke Conference in 2013 states that a caregiver’s positive self-esteem and attitude may in turn improve the stroke survivor’s depression and optimistic outlook.

Source:  StrokeSmart Magazine

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