Elder Care in Laguna Woods CA
As a family caregiver, you likely already know about the risk of depression in your elder care journey with your aging loved ones. Both you and your seniors are at risk of developing this illness, which can cause serious mental and emotional consequences, increase the rate of physical decline and hasten diminished functional capacity, reduce the bond of your relationship, and lower the effectiveness of your care efforts. Understanding depression and how you can combat it can help you to reduce your risk of becoming depressed while also protecting your loved ones from developing this illness.
Depression is an illness, and just like most other illnesses, there are things that you can do that might help to reduce the risk of you developing depression and guide you through improving your mental and emotional health should you or your aging loved ones develop it during your elder care journey. One of these things is understanding the negative thought processes linked to the development of depression.
While there are usually other factors in play when it comes to developing depression, chronic negative thinking can make a dramatic impact on your risk. This means that being aware of your thinking and making an effort to avoid the negativity and improve those thought processes can lower your risk of developing depression and help you to manage it if it does happen.
Some of the most common forms of negative thinking that create depression include:
• The need to do everything. Sometimes referred to as “all or nothing” thinking, the need to do everything is a common feeling for caregivers and for elderly adults. Caregivers think that they should be able to do everything that their parents need, while the elderly adults think that they should be able to do everything that they need to take care of themselves. This thought, however, just builds you up for feelings of failure. Be willing to let go of some of this need for control and accept that you cannot do everything all the time.
• Exaggeration of negatives. The idea of a silver lining really is an important concept when it comes to avoiding and combating depression. Exaggeration of negatives, and overshadowing of positives, is common form of negative thinking that contributes to the development and worsening of depression. This means never being able accept and appreciate positive things, and always finding something negative in the good things that do happen. For example, your mother’s doctor may tell her that she is doing great on her weight loss plan but she thinks “I didn’t lose any weight” or “I only lost half a pound.” Focus on finding positive things in life and avoiding the temptation to find something negative in everything that happens.
• Dwelling on challenges. Denial is never a good thing, but going in the opposite direction and dwelling on challenges is a sure-fire way to make you depressed. Instead of spending your time thinking about how hard it is to be a caregiver, acknowledge the challenges but focus instead on your gratitude for the time you have with your parents. Likewise, instead of allowing your parents to dwell on how much pain they face on a daily basis thinking it is being honest and will help them get past it, have them be honest about their pain but then focus their energy on finding positive and productive ways to overcome that pain.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care services in Laguna Woods, CA or the surrounding Orange County areas, please call us at 949-535-2211. We provide senior care services in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Woods, Laguna Beach, Mission Viejo and surrounding areas of Orange County California. Contact us today to learn more.