Tag Archives: depression

Exploring natural stress relief for caregivers with CBD hemp oil

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Caregiving is stressful. Even the most well-adjusted individual can find themselves struggling with the mix of emotions that a caregiver can experience. On top of stress, being a caregiver can be isolating, leading to depression.

I know I was totally stressed out when I was a caregiver for my parents.  There was that “always on edge” feeling, waiting for that phone call that someone had fallen or someone was headed to the ER. As a long-distance caregiver, there was a sense of helplessness and lack of control. When I moved in with my mother to help in her recovery from a colostomy, I experienced a different kind of stress. My mother and I were complete opposites personality-wise, and we often butted heads.

As I look for ways to help caregivers deal with stress, I’ve explored many options. While yoga and meditation can be beneficial, it can be difficult for caregivers to find time for such activities.  Pharmaceuticals work for some people, but come with a host of side effects. The key is to find something that could help relieve stress, anxiety and depression, but without making one loopy or sleepy. Caregivers have to remain alert in order to perform medical tasks.

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about Cannabidiol (CBD) hemp oil, and its potential in naturally relieving anxiety and depression, without the psychoactive side effects of marijuana.  My curiosity was piqued. There is  a lot of misinformation about CBD and hemp oil, so I began to investigate its potential for caregivers. Hemp comes from the cannabis plant but it is not marijuana and contains very little THC, which is what causes marijuana’s “high.”

Recently I launched a website, CBDforCaregivers.com. It’s an informational site that includes reviews of CBD hemp oil products that I’ve personally tried. My focus is on how these products can help ease anxiety and depression, along with offering pain relief. (The physical labor involved in caregiving can cause chronic pain.)

I’m excited about the potential of CBD hemp oil products, but the products remain in a murky legal state for now. The hemp provisions in the Farm Bill of 2018, if it passes, could remove the cloud of uncertainty at the federal level, though some states are targeting stores that sell CBD products.

It’s important to check your local laws and consult your doctor before using any natural supplement.

If you’ve tried CBD hemp oil, I’d love to hear about your experience.

 

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Recognizing caregiver depression, isolation

Excellent article that outlines common symptoms of depression that caregivers might experience, and what to do about it. Caregiving can be isolating by its very nature, and loneliness and depression are common, yet many caregivers ignore their own symptoms because they are focused on taking care of others.

Stop Saying I Should Get Over It: Loneliness and Depression in Caregiving

via Loneliness and Depression in Caregiving — The Purple Jacket

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Rethinking treatment for seniors with depression

Mom is depressed. I know this. She knows this. Admitted it to the doctor when he asked.

But she remains very resistant to the idea of talk therapy.

This, from the woman who can, and does, talk to everyone! She’s never met a stranger, and she’s collected the life stories from hundreds of strangers while riding the bus or waiting in line at the grocery store. Mom is not shy at all about discussing depressing personal subjects, like Dad’s Alzheimer’s or her own battle with cancer.

The woman who admits she is lonely and just wants someone to talk to, still refuses to go talk to a therapist once or twice a week. There is a special program in her town designed to deal with geriatric mental health issues.

Mom says it’s because they won’t come to the house. The doctor wants to encourage my mom to stay active and get out of the house. The personal care service can and does drive her to any appointments.

Perhaps it is more of a generational issue. Mom comes from a generation that quietly bore their burdens, versus jumping on the therapist’s couch. Psychoanalysis was more of an upper-class pastime than something the average person engaged in. Now, therapy is recommended for just about anyone, even children.

But maybe we need to rethink senior therapy to encourage more people like my mom to participate. Perhaps an initial home visit/assessment, then subsequent office visits. When you physically feel lousy, you are going to feel even more depressed but may not feel like getting dressed and leaving the house.

Once my mom connects with someone, it lifts her spirits and she is willing to be more flexible with her routine. For example, sometimes the personal care attendant can only come at 10am, which is early for my mom. Guess what? Mom has adjusted just fine.

This is probably a short-term issue, as I have a feeling baby boomers will have no problem with therapy, but it does make me feel for all of those lonely, depressed seniors isolated in their homes right now. I wish we could reach out to them effectively. (Mom refuses to go to the Senior Center as well!)

Are there programs in your community that are designed to help seniors battle depression or loneliness?

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Guest article: Dealing with geriatric depression

By Jesse Waugh

It is normal to experience grief when facing major life changes.

However, for older adults, drastic events can lead to extreme sadness and, ultimately, clinical depression.

Approximately 15% of the elderly suffer from this condition.

If left untreated, depression can last for months and take a toll on the immune system, making the afflicted person mentally and physically weaker.

A geriatric psychiatrist can tell if a person is depressed or experiencing bouts of loneliness and helplessness.

sad senior man

What are the warning signs of clinical depression?

If you think an elderly friend or relative suffers from depression, look for warning signs. There are several health indicators that suggest persistent feelings of sadness.

Withdrawal from society – It is common for elders who experience depression to avoid social situations, even with close friends and relatives.

Loss of self-regard – Putting off personal grooming and proper hygiene may suggest a feeling of detachment and could be a sign of the early stages of depression.

Increased irritability – Sudden drastic changes in an older adult’s mood may suggest the outset of depression.

Amplified physical pain – Contrary to popular belief, depression affects both the mind and the body. Since it weakens the immune system, it can increase physical pain.

Older adults who have suffered from a serious disease or are recovering from a surgery may also be susceptible to depression.

Studies show that around 15% of older patients experience episodes of sadness after they are discharged from the hospital.

What can you do to help?

Keep in mind that depression is an illness. It is much more serious and damaging than grief or sadness. If you suspect that someone suffers from it, keep an eye out for the symptoms or warning signs mentioned above.

Do not attempt to control their lives. If you do things for them that they can do by themselves, you might strengthen their perception that they are helpless or incapable. In fact, many aged care homes do their best to make their guests feel at home and in control of every important aspect of their lives.

Talk to them. This is a good way to alleviate depressive episodes. Just be indirect when you open up the topic of depression. Instead of saying it outright, ask them how they feel. Even if they tell you that they’re fine, they may unknowingly drop hints about how they truly feel.

Basically, you must understand the situation they’re in, and do your best to help them cope with the bouts of extreme sadness. Perhaps one of the most helpful things you can do is keep them company. Loneliness may also be connected to Alzheimer’s, so be there for them when they need you.

Many older adults have successfully recovered from depression without intervention. However, it is best for friends and family of the afflicted person to look into professional help and build a support network. Compassion, empathy and sensitivity can go a long way in the treatment of elderly depression.

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