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Family Caregiving for Seniors - SageCorner Blog

Caregivers Face Higher Risk of Mental Health Issues

by Deah on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 7:35 AM

I can see where it is possible that caregivers can face a higher risk of mental health problems. Not only in caregiving roles I have played, but while witnessing others, I have seen the physical and mental exhaustion. When we get to that point and then do not take care of ourselves, we not only face possible mental health issues but other illnesses as well.

My husband and I both come from large families and have been fortunate to have others around us who share responsibilities. Many family caregivers do not have that luxury and thus, face an increased risk of illnesses and mental health issues.

Dr. Madhavi Singh of Penn State Health says that mental illness may be more difficult to recognize. She suggests the following signs of mental health concerns:

• Prolonged irritability
• Lack of interest in previously enjoyable activities
• Insomnia or excessive sleep
• Unexplained weight loss
• Depressed mood
• Illegal drug use or excessive alcohol consumption
• Out of control spending
• Increased worrying or anxiety
• Manic behavior

 

Mental health is something that our society does not like to address, and mental illness is much more common than you might think. People often hesitate to discuss the possibility of its existence - even with a physician - because of embarrassment and fear.

What can we do to boost our mental health?

First, we must learn to value ourselves- we should treat ourselves with the same kindness we treat others. Take time to stay in touch with your own needs, feelings and desires. Be sure to take time for the things you enjoy. Never measure your self-worth to others. We are all in difference places in life.

Eat a nutritious, well balanced diet- eating nutritiously does so much more than just boosting our mental health. Why not be the best we can be by doing something so simply as eating healthy.

Stay Active- staying active is not just good for the mind. It goes without saying it, it is good for the body too. This one I have proven for myself. I feel so much better when I am active and eating healthy.

Make social connections a priority- strong social ties with others will decrease the risk of depression and improve your physical and mental health. According to studies it may even lengthen your lifespan.

Learn how to keep stress in check- stress has many sources and we all feel stressed at times. It is just part of the ups and downs in life. Chronic stress can increase the risk of headaches, intestinal upsets and many other problems that can lead to poor mental health. It is very important that we learn how to handle stress and practice good coping skills. There are many stress management programs but also some simple things like deep breathing, exercising, and going for a nature walk.

Get your ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ’s- Do not skimp on sleep, it matters more than you might think. Sleep deprivation has a significant negative effect on our bodies and mind.

“I can’t’ change the direction of the wind but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” Jimmy Dean

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” Aristotle Onassis

Blogs Parent Separator Deah Bowes
caregiver
caregiver health
caregiving
mental health
Author
Deah

Tips and ideas to help care for a senior loved one at home.

  

Lori Paterno, M.Ed. Has a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling From Penn State University.  She has over 20 years professional experience in Human Services, Counseling, and Education.

Lori Paterno, M.Ed. Has a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling From Penn State University.  She has over 20 years professional experience in Human Services, Counseling, and Education. 
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