More than just a temporary sad mood or case of the blues, clinical depression can take a toll on both the individual sufferers and those who are caring for them. Clinical depression may continue on for a matter of years, severely reducing the person’s ability to lead an average, functional life. Common characteristics and symptoms of depression include an increase in fatigue, lack of motivation, loss of interest in typical activities, appetite changes, sleep problems and difficulty concentrating. In some cases, the depressed individual may consider suicide or engage in suicide attempts.
Depression can be a particular challenge during a person’s later years, when factors such as illness, loss of loved ones and major life changes all contribute to loneliness and anxiety. If an individual is suffering from severe depression and living with others, it can be challenging for his or her caregivers to maintain a stable, stress-free lifestyle. If a depression sufferer lives alone, home care services can be a particularly important way to provide companionship and targeted care, while still allowing the depressed person to live a more independent lifestyle. Since changes in home environment may worsen depression, personal care services allow the individual to continue living in a familiar environment.
The qualified professionals who provide home health care services are trained to deal with the challenges of depression. Since many depression sufferers are on medications or attending therapy sessions to treat the condition, a PCA can help by reminding the patient about his or her medications or accompanying him or her to medical appointments. In addition, the professional caregiver can monitor the individual for warning signs of worsening depression or suicidal behavior. Depressed individuals often have trouble completing basic tasks. Therefore, home care services typically focus on everyday chores and obligations, personal hygiene, meal preparation and outings. The caregiver can also help the depressed person by providing social interaction and companionship throughout the week.
In-home care helps by allowing the usual caregiver to take a break and avoid mental fatigue from providing constant care for a loved one. Since overworked caregivers run the risk of also developing signs of depression, home care services create a better environment for everyone involved. Additionally, a PCA can provide essential services for a depressed person who does not have access to relatives and friends. For instance, if an elderly person lives far away and cannot rely on the help of his or her support group, personal care services provide important peace of mind for loved ones back home and help the depressed person function more fully. When used alongside medical treatment and comprehensive care, home health care services reduce the unwanted risks associated with clinical depression.