How caregivers can avoid social isolation
For some caregivers, taking in a loved one because of an illness or health condition may cause them to go out less or develop a sense of loneliness. While this is common, know that as a caregiver you do not have to struggle alone. There are many ways one can overcome this sense of loneliness or isolation. Check out the following tips:
Connect with people
Even though you are now dedicating part of your life to care for an older adult, you still need a good support system. Reaching out to close friends and family to keep them informed with what is going on in your life and still having a part in theirs is a start. It will be important to make sure you are still making an effort to keep those relationships.
Another outlet you can turn to is finding a caregiver support group. This gives you a way to connect with others going through the same experiences with you and hearing how they are getting by each day. There are both in-person groups or online groups you can become a part of.
Build deep relationships
While it’s great to have people you can turn to for a coffee or lunch date for a quick chat, you still need to form deeper relationships so you are not masking the feeling of loneliness. These relationships will be where you can share deeper feelings and let them know what is truly going on. Those people will allow you to feel comfortable in sharing your feelings whether they are good and bad.
Don’t be afraid to express your real feelings
As a caregiver, you might struggle to always share the negative stories or feeling of what you are going through. But keeping that all to yourself will only cause you to feel worse and may make you depressed. By finding those where you can really share your feelings, you’ll lighten the emotional load that has been weighing on your shoulders. It will also help them to better understand what you are truly going through.
For anyone, praise may be difficult to accept. But for caregivers, the struggle may increase as you are still adjusting to this new role. However, the importance of learning to accept it is crucial as it is a way to still connect with friends and family who care about you. This is their way of supporting and cheering you on.
If you or someone you know is starting to withdraw from social functions after becoming a caregiver, make sure to pass along these tips. No one needs to go through this alone and there is always help available.