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Caregivers: Remember to Care for Yourself

We’ve all been there:  wake up, get our loved ones out the door; get to work, immediately start on our caregiving duties. All of a sudden, 2 p.m. rolls around and we’re feeling a bit funky. Why? Because we never stopped to eat. Sound familiar?

All too often, it is. As caregivers, we need to remember that great care partners also care for themselves. Being a caregiver means wearing many hats—you may be a spouse, a child or a parent; a nurse, an advocate, a coordinator, a communicator, a liaison, or a friend–and sometimes several of those all at once.

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Is It Depression or Just the Blues?

Depression is a common mental health condition that affects more than 6.5 million American aged 65 or older. The symptoms of depression include feelings of sadness, loss, anger or frustration. It is often untreated because many people think that depression is a normal part of aging and a natural reaction to chronic illness, loss and social transition. Also, this mood disorder is often untreated because an elderly individual may be isolated because he/she doesn't live in an Assisted Living NYC, which in itself can lead to depression. When depression isn't treated, the risk for mental illness and cognitive decline increases. The causes of depression include health problems, loneliness, isolation, reduce sense of purpose, fear of death, and recent bereavement. Because grief and depression share many symptoms, it isn't always easy to distinguish the difference. Grief is a roller coaster; it involves a wide variety of emotions and a mix of good and bad days. With depression, on the other hand, the feelings of emptiness and despair are constant. It doesn't go away by itself and lasts for months. If untreated, depression can affect the body. For example, it can increase the risk for health disease and can suppress the immune system, which can raise the risk for infection.

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