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Caregivers with Depression

My husband had been enrolled in an Adult Day Care Center which he attended for about two months.  That was wonderful because it gave me a full day to schedule appointments, run errands, etc.  I also had a Home Health Care companion come to the house one afternoon a week so I could volunteer at the hospital.  This also was good for me.  However, that has all come crashing down since he refuses to go back to the day care.  The last time he was there he was very disturbing to the other people and I really don’t think they want him back.  Yesterday, he told his companion to leave the house and that he did not belong here.  He became agressive to the point of pushing the companion.  These were my only sources of respite and I’m afraid to make him do these things for fear that he will hurt someone.  The only family I have here can’t help me much because my husband has decided he doesn’t want to be around my brother either. 

I have been feeling very lonely, sad and depressed and I can’t seem to make myself do anything but take care of him.  I really can’t even think about Christmas nor do I even want to.  The doctor put me on a mild anti-depressant but it doesn’t seem to be helping much.  Does anyone have any suggestions about what to do when the patient doesn’t want anyone else around but the caregiver.  I know you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of them but I’m at a loss as to what to do next.

User Posts

submitted by Chicagorunner on Friday, 01/14/2011 - 11:37pm

Just thought I'd check back on this issue and see how everyone was doing. I hope the New Year is going ok for everyone.

submitted by Chicagorunner on Saturday, 12/18/2010 - 12:20am

I'm reading a lot about this...glad you're getting help. Stay in touch so we can follow the progress.

submitted by Kathie Lynch on Thursday, 12/09/2010 - 4:38am

Thank you to all who wrote in with comments and suggestions regarding my struggle.  I can't tell you how much your support helps. My husband and I both were at the doctors yesterday and we both are trying some new meds.  I'm praying this works and I will keep you all posted.  I think I will be fine once we get on something that works for us, and hopefully we will be able to bring in some outside help when that happens. 

submitted by JeanneG on Thursday, 12/09/2010 - 4:49am

Thanks for coming back with an update, Kathie. Hang in there, and keep us posted.

submitted by Roxie1956 on Thursday, 12/09/2010 - 1:36am

I kown what you are going thur now. Because I was taking care of my mother who has Dementia. I was going to school full time and working full time, and then coming home to take care of her. The only night I had to myself was on Friday nites for bowling. But I had to put her into a nursing home, Jan. 22, 2010. But there was a time I felt loner and all alone, no one to talk to. But I went and talked to some people down at school, and they said I need to talk to someone professional. It is helping me alot, there are times that I cry when I see her. I not saying you should, but it may help you alot to talk to someone that can help you. Ask your doctor about talking to a professional and see what he says to you. Your brother needs to understand what dementia is, fine information the computer and make copie for him to read on it. I hope this will help you, and keep strong for you husband because he needs you at this time.Roxanne O.

submitted by Carol B on Wednesday, 12/08/2010 - 3:16pm

Hi Kathie, We all support you! I'm sorry you are having a tough time. The lows can feel  very low at times.I wanted to say one thing about your antidepressant - my doctor told me that these meds normally take 4-6 weeks to "kick in" so that you start to feel better. That being said, you should talk to your doctor at any time if you feel like you want to try a different solution. You are in charge of your own life, remember  :)  I agree with one of the other folks who mentioned talk therapy as an option as well.Hang in there! Big hugs from all of us!  <3  <3- Carol B

submitted by DonnaG on Wednesday, 12/08/2010 - 3:01pm

I don't have much to offer beyond the great words of support and advice already offered. But I wanted to just say that I care and am glad you reached out here, Kathie. It sounds as if you have been great about finding resources such as day care and in-home help (better than I and my family have done so far). It must be very discouraging to have had things clicking along OK and then all of a sudden watch them falling apart. Others have given concrete ideas for moving forward. Take care. Hope to keep hearing from you here. Peace.

submitted by Kae Cinderella on Monday, 12/06/2010 - 8:09pm

Kathie, hang in there, please and don't give up.  There are other options.  Talk to your home health aide agency and see about a different aide.  Or call a different agency, if one is available.  We had to change aides four times before my mom "clicked" with someone that worked well.  Also, the aides we employee (two different girls) all tell my mom that "Kae will be right back, but can I help you until then" when she calls for me.  And they give her plenty of space when she's just sitting and watching TV.  My mom was very angry about having to have "someone sit here and watch her", so sometimes the aides will sit in the kitchen and read if mom is napping or just watching TV.  Just a few suggestion, and it took alot of trial and error but so far this has worked.  It's a sliding scale somedays.  Maybe your husband would be more open to another man assisting him?  Friends of ours tried that through their agency for their dad and it did work better....again, just some options to consider.Blessings, Kae 

submitted by JeanneG on Saturday, 12/04/2010 - 4:49am

I've been thinking about this for a few hours. I don't have an answer for you, Kathie, but I want to offer compassion and sincere best wishes for your well-being. I do have a few comments, as a fellow caregiver. I'm not a health care professional, and these are just my opinions.First, you do need to take care of yourself, because you are a wonderful unique individual, worthy of being taken care of in your own right. Take care of yourself because you deserve it. Taking care of yourself will also benefit your husband, and that is a happy benefit. But even if you didn't have a sick husband you are worthy of care! In spite of how it feels, and what well-meaning people sometimes imply, we are not here simply to take care of someone else. We, too, are worthy of all the care we can give ourselves.I don't know about you, but "take care of myself" sometimes feels like another item on my overflowing to-do list. It is hard to carve out time for it. I am glad that you recognize your depression and are trying to take care of that issue. Maybe you need a different drug or a different dose and/or talk therapy and/or additional strategies, like regular exercise. Be persistent in seeking help. This is important! Don't give up.Next, as I am sure you know and repeat to yourself frequently, it is not your husband but the disease that is behaving is this very difficult way. So focus on dealing with the disease. Is your husband being followed by a specialist knowledgable about dementia? I think that can make a huge difference in his life and in yours. Treat the behavioral change as you would any change in his health, such as a sudden persistent cough, or GI problems, or trouble sleeping. Make sure the doctor knows about it promptly. See if there are any treatments that might offer benefit. Just as there are drugs and other treatments that can help with depression there are drugs and treatments that can help at least some dementia patients with behavioral problems. Here is an article that discusses the issues: http://endoflifecare.tripod.com/juvenilehuntingtonsdisease/id138.html  I am not recommending it for specific treatments or drugs and the disease involved is not likely to be what your husband has, but to point out that there are things that can be tried. From what I've heard in my caregivers' support group, sometimes these measures help a lot, and sometimes they don't. But don't give up hope until you've talked to an expert. (Perhaps you are already doing these things. I bring it up just in case it is a new thought for you. I'm not sure I would have sought medical help with behavioral problems if I hadn't heard other caregivers talking about it.)You are not obligated to "do Christmas." It is OK to skip the frantic activity this year. But I worry that not wanting to think about Christmas is the depression talking. Do work on dealing with the depression so that the "real you" (and not the depressed imposter) can make decisions about what will give you both the most pleasure and peace this year. (That is how I feel when I am depressed. That I am not myself, and that I want the real me back! Is that how you feel?)Please come back and post how you are doing. We can't do anthing to change your situation, but we do care!

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