But Who Cares for the Caregiver?

Caring for a sick family member can be tolling, even causing caregivers to sometimes become sicker than those they are caring for. According to the American Journal of Nursing (2008), “Caregiving has all the features of a chronic stress experience.” We’re in a generation where life expectancy has increased and medical advancements have moved forward at a rapid rate. Although these two facts are positive in and of themselves, when combined, this translates to people living longer but in an unhealthy state.

Dialysis, for instance, can potentially add 5-10 years to a person’s life span. However, this also means the individual is visiting a dialysis center 2-3 days a week and exhausted from the procedure, leading to poor quality of life in their last years. This also means someone is likely at home with this person and caring for their daily needs. Most times, that person is a loved one who is witnessing the agonizing decline of a parent, partner, sibling or other loved one.

This can be particularly difficult for those who have no idea how to navigate their roles as caregivers. Most people are muddling through each day trying to figure it out, often feeling overwhelmed and isolated. Those who have a medical background are blessed in these circumstances but even then, there is the emotional stress – anxiety, depression, exhaustion, feelings of grief and loss – of caring for someone you hold dear. So how to go about this thing called caregiving?

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Thankfully, resources are available, and knowledge from those who have been through the trials and successes of caregiving is priceless. One such book, which is listed on http://www.caring.com’s list of best books for caregiving in 2017 is Role Reversal, written by Iris Waichler. The book focuses specifically on the process of caring for parents while also attending to self-care.

 

For free information on caregiving, visit the author’s Facebook page. Details about Role Reversal can be found at www.iriswaichler.

 

Feel free to contact me for additional resources and support:

 

 

Photo Credit: http://www.iriswaichler.com

 

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How Nutrition is Linked to Depression

img_0354What does it look like? Depression can mean having a hard time getting out of bed, not wanting to talk, even to the people you love the most, feeling like it’s a chore to do things that used to be fun, having trouble concentrating or even remembering. It might sometimes mean having to pretend everything’s just fine.

The musician, Kid Cudi, recently shared that he has suffered from long-standing depression. Although we know success does not equate to feeling joy, some may wonder why someone like him would feel depressed. Unfortunately, depression can have many causes, including difficult life circumstances, medical changes or genetic predisposition. It can be a complicated process to understand, even for the person who is suffering.

I appreciate that Kid Cudi shared about his mental health, because at least for a little while, the media is accurately describing depression for what it is, not a shameful secret, not something that happens to someone else, and especially not a weakness of character, but an illness that may be affecting our colleagues, loved ones and even us. And we don’t have to pretend it isn’t.

There are ways sufferers may naturally manage symptoms or in some cases, even resolve them (under professional medical and psychological care), depending on the source, especially if they may be partly or fully due to nutritional imbalance.

  • One of the most common biological factors involved in depression is unbalanced blood sugar. Even if a person doesn’t have diabetes, fluctuation in blood sugar can affect mood negatively.
  • Chromium deficiency is another nutritional issue that can cause mood issues. It reduces insulin resistance so again, there’s the relationship between blood sugar and mood.
  • Food allergies are found to be related to depression. A food and mood log might help determine which foods are causing problems. To determine a pattern, it might be helpful to continue logging for a couple of months.
  • Omega-3 fats help build connections in the brain, so a deficiency can contribute to  negative mood.

Check out Food for the Brain to read more about natural options for depression. Speak with your primary care physician or psychiatrist, as well as a clinical therapist for appropriate care. An article in The Atlantic  gives some insight into Kid Cudi’s challenges with depression and his decision to receive treatment.

The Lyrics Said, “Forevermore”

 

IMG_1002Even in times of illness, there may be small, momentary sparks of hope. I recently wrote a fiction piece inspired by my work with those who suffer from brain disorders. You can find it featured on Women.Who.Write:

https://womenwhowriteblog.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/the-lyrics-said-forevermore/

I’d love to hear about your perceptions and stories of strength, even despite health obstacles.

Patty