Caring for a Dying Loved One: Your Mental Health

Reviewed Jan 7, 2021

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Summary

  • Monitor for depression and anxiety
  • Seek help from a mental health professional
  • Join a support group

Caring for a dying loved one is physically and emotionally draining. This can cause serious mental health problems for caregivers. Caregivers experience increased risk of major depressive disorder, anxiety, reduced quality of life, and chronic stress that can lead to other health problems.

You’ve got to take care of yourself in order to care for someone else. If you provide care for a seriously ill loved one, learn how it can affect your mental health, and what you can do to help yourself.

Caregiving, depression, and quality of life

Caregivers have a higher risk of depression. They also often experience decreased ability to perform work they normally perform in other roles, and a decrease in healthy social functioning, energy levels and perceptions of their own health.

Caregiving and anxiety

Many caregivers experience anxiety, often related to money, health problems and family relationships. In cases of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), those worries can start to interfere with everyday functioning.. People with GAD often complain of insomnia and an inability to concentrate.    

Caregiving and chronic stress

Dealing with caregiving responsibilities on a daily basis can cause chronic stress. Besides the obvious emotional toll, chronic stress can impair the immune system and increase susceptibility to disease.

What you can do

You can help yourself avoid serious mental health problems. Keep these tips in mind, especially if you start feeling depressed, overly anxious or stressed:

  • Seek help from mental health professionals in dealing with your emotions and their impact on your life.
  • Enroll in a hospice program as soon as possible, which will provide care and support for your loved one and for you and your family.
  • Use community resources, such as transportation services and social work services.
  • Ask for help from family and friends. You shouldn’t have to deal with the experience alone, so don’t be afraid to ask for support. People often want to help, but aren’t sure how.
  • Keep a sense of perspective. Don’t let yourself feel guilty about wanting to take some time for yourself. Be realistic about what you can and can’t do—and what you want to do and don’t want to do.
  • Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by comparing present circumstances with your past relationship with your seriously ill loved one.
  • Use in-home care, or find adult day care.
  • Join a support group. You’ll probably feel better if you can talk about your experiences with people in similar situations.
By Kristen Knight

Summary

  • Monitor for depression and anxiety
  • Seek help from a mental health professional
  • Join a support group

Caring for a dying loved one is physically and emotionally draining. This can cause serious mental health problems for caregivers. Caregivers experience increased risk of major depressive disorder, anxiety, reduced quality of life, and chronic stress that can lead to other health problems.

You’ve got to take care of yourself in order to care for someone else. If you provide care for a seriously ill loved one, learn how it can affect your mental health, and what you can do to help yourself.

Caregiving, depression, and quality of life

Caregivers have a higher risk of depression. They also often experience decreased ability to perform work they normally perform in other roles, and a decrease in healthy social functioning, energy levels and perceptions of their own health.

Caregiving and anxiety

Many caregivers experience anxiety, often related to money, health problems and family relationships. In cases of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), those worries can start to interfere with everyday functioning.. People with GAD often complain of insomnia and an inability to concentrate.    

Caregiving and chronic stress

Dealing with caregiving responsibilities on a daily basis can cause chronic stress. Besides the obvious emotional toll, chronic stress can impair the immune system and increase susceptibility to disease.

What you can do

You can help yourself avoid serious mental health problems. Keep these tips in mind, especially if you start feeling depressed, overly anxious or stressed:

  • Seek help from mental health professionals in dealing with your emotions and their impact on your life.
  • Enroll in a hospice program as soon as possible, which will provide care and support for your loved one and for you and your family.
  • Use community resources, such as transportation services and social work services.
  • Ask for help from family and friends. You shouldn’t have to deal with the experience alone, so don’t be afraid to ask for support. People often want to help, but aren’t sure how.
  • Keep a sense of perspective. Don’t let yourself feel guilty about wanting to take some time for yourself. Be realistic about what you can and can’t do—and what you want to do and don’t want to do.
  • Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by comparing present circumstances with your past relationship with your seriously ill loved one.
  • Use in-home care, or find adult day care.
  • Join a support group. You’ll probably feel better if you can talk about your experiences with people in similar situations.
By Kristen Knight

Summary

  • Monitor for depression and anxiety
  • Seek help from a mental health professional
  • Join a support group

Caring for a dying loved one is physically and emotionally draining. This can cause serious mental health problems for caregivers. Caregivers experience increased risk of major depressive disorder, anxiety, reduced quality of life, and chronic stress that can lead to other health problems.

You’ve got to take care of yourself in order to care for someone else. If you provide care for a seriously ill loved one, learn how it can affect your mental health, and what you can do to help yourself.

Caregiving, depression, and quality of life

Caregivers have a higher risk of depression. They also often experience decreased ability to perform work they normally perform in other roles, and a decrease in healthy social functioning, energy levels and perceptions of their own health.

Caregiving and anxiety

Many caregivers experience anxiety, often related to money, health problems and family relationships. In cases of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), those worries can start to interfere with everyday functioning.. People with GAD often complain of insomnia and an inability to concentrate.    

Caregiving and chronic stress

Dealing with caregiving responsibilities on a daily basis can cause chronic stress. Besides the obvious emotional toll, chronic stress can impair the immune system and increase susceptibility to disease.

What you can do

You can help yourself avoid serious mental health problems. Keep these tips in mind, especially if you start feeling depressed, overly anxious or stressed:

  • Seek help from mental health professionals in dealing with your emotions and their impact on your life.
  • Enroll in a hospice program as soon as possible, which will provide care and support for your loved one and for you and your family.
  • Use community resources, such as transportation services and social work services.
  • Ask for help from family and friends. You shouldn’t have to deal with the experience alone, so don’t be afraid to ask for support. People often want to help, but aren’t sure how.
  • Keep a sense of perspective. Don’t let yourself feel guilty about wanting to take some time for yourself. Be realistic about what you can and can’t do—and what you want to do and don’t want to do.
  • Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by comparing present circumstances with your past relationship with your seriously ill loved one.
  • Use in-home care, or find adult day care.
  • Join a support group. You’ll probably feel better if you can talk about your experiences with people in similar situations.
By Kristen Knight

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The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, assessments, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2019 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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