Mental Health of the Caregiver: Anxiety, Depression and Stress
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Mental Health of the Caregiver: Anxiety, Depression and Stress

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  • 1. Caregiving The Other Side of Alzheimer’s
  • 2. Caregiver:
    • The forgotten,
    • hidden or
    • second patient
  • 3. You know too well the patient side of Alzheimer’s…
    • How much emphasis or acknowledgement, however, have you allowed yourself as a caregiver???
    • How is caregiving for an Alzheimer Patient different than caregiving for someone with Cancer, Heart Disease, Renal Failure, or Diabetes?
    ?
  • 4. Alzheimer’s Disease is most often gradual and progressive with each increasing stage taking more of an emotional and physical toll on patient and caregiver alike.
  • 5.
    • Increased Deterioration =
    • Increased Dependency
  • 6. Acceptance
    • Acceptance does not come easy, often denying or minimizing symptoms
  • 7. Quickly, even in early stages, roles and responsibilities change.
  • 8. Change which brings a wide range of very natural emotions in response to the disease… Frustration Overwhelmed Fear Anger Sadness Guilt Confusion Embarrassment Don’t cheat yourself out of these very real emotions . Allow yourself to experience and work through these emotions.
  • 9. Primary mistake of caregiving … “ Endless reservoir of energy, spirit, knowledge, skill, support, patience, and, yes, even love.”
  • 10. Caregivers are very susceptible and at high risk for… Stress Anxiety Depression
  • 11. Approximately 95% of all caregivers will experience significant distress at various stages of their caregiving experience.
  • 12. Peaks & Valleys of Reactions Anxiety Depression Stress
  • 13. Symptoms of Anxiety
    • Excessive worry
    • Preoccupation or fixation
    • Shortness of breath or other physiological responses
    • Increased/Decreased Appetite
    • Heightened Sensitivity
    • Tearful
  • 14. Symptoms of Stress
    • Anger
    • Denial
    • Isolation/Withdrawal
    • Exhaustion
    • Irritability
    • Sleep changes/sleeplessness/insomnia
  • 15. Symptoms of Depression
    • Feelings of hopelessness
    • Sleep changes / excessive sleeping
    • Lack of interest
    • Loss of concentration
    • Physical manifestations: aches/pains
    • Weight gain / loss
    • Lack of energy
    • Feeling of loneliness and abandonment
  • 16. Five Reactions to Family Adjustment
  • 17. Denial
    • Description: The initial response that nothing is wrong. Denial can also reappear as false hopes that treatment will cure the patient.
    Help for the Caregiver : Information about the disease can help families understand what is happening, and what to expect.
  • 18. Over-involvement
    • Description: Attempts to compensate for the illness and its impairments. By being over-involved in the patient’s care, the caregiver may refuse help and feel isolated. Sometimes the primary caregiver will try to meet every need of the patient.
    Help for the Caregiver : Families should be aware of all of the available options for support, including in-home support services. Caregivers must understand that no one person can meet all the patient’s needs. The consequences of over-involvement can be detrimental to the patient.
  • 19. Anger
    • Description: Anger can occur when the family realizes that attempts at compensation have failed, and physical and emotional burdens begin to take their toll. Long-standing and interpersonal problems and unresolved issues can be troubling at this stage if the root of the anger is not addressed.
    Help for the Caregiver : Support groups can help families work through feelings of anger and gain empathy from other families. If anger becomes severe, family members may need to be encouraged to enter counseling so that hostility does not stand in the way of patient care or sever important family ties.
  • 20. Guilt
    • Description : Developed from anger and “what ifs” brought on by looking back. Unresolved feelings of anger or guilt can lead to depression. Guilt is often experienced when the patient can no longer be cared for at home.
    Help for the Caregiver : These feelings are normal responses to extreme stress. It is what caregivers and family members do with their feelings that really matters.
  • 21. Acceptance
    • Description: Resolution or acceptance of the problems. Acceptance comes from a full understanding of the disease and its effects on the family.
    Help for the Caregiver : Support, education, and other resources can help families move toward acceptance. *Excerpted from Caring for the Alzheimer’s Patient Geriatric Mental Health Foundation
  • 22. So How Do I Cope?
    • Be gentle with yourself
    • Be realistic with self and patient expectations
    • Rest/Sleep/Eat to avoid health problems
    • Make time for yourself…
    • without feeling guilty
  • 23. So How Do I Cope?
    • Educate yourself about the disease and its related impact
    Extravagant or Simple A dedicated project with deadlines or a leisure activity A Picture Album with Notes Book Manuscript Handwritten Word Processed Audio Taped Video Taped A Diary Music Memories A Cookbook How To???
    • Think and plan to take care of yourself, asking this question “Take Care of Me Means???”
  • 24. So How Do I Cope?
    • Pursue Interventions
    Respite Medication Counseling Friends/Family Assistance Support Groups Skills Training
  • 25.
    • Taking Care of Self Is
    • NOT
    • a Selfish Act
  • 26. Handouts
    • Reducing the stress in your life
    • So how am I doing anyway?
    • A Caregivers Bill of Rights