Loneliness is a huge problem for caregivers. You’re often alone with your aging adult, but there’s more. The situation you’re in can cause you to pull back from the other people in your life and that has far-reaching effects. You can still do something about it, but you need to make a conscious effort.
Friends and Family Are a Good Start
If you’re not spending much time around family and friends, that’s your first mistake. Your family and your friends care about you and they want you to be okay. But they might not understand all the demands you’re facing as a caregiver. It’s important that you reach out to them and help them to understand what you’re going through. That’s not always easy to do, but it can make a huge difference.
Touch Base with People Who Understand
Other caregivers know exactly what you’re going through, so reach out to them, too. This can be really difficult to do, though. If you’re not already attending caregiver support meetings, consider finding a group in your area. You can attend meetings online, too, but if you’re experiencing loneliness it’s a good idea to seek out a meeting with people in your area. You might just make some new friends at these meetings who know just how tough it is to be a caregiver. They can keep being there for you, even after the meetings are over.
How Do You Really Feel?
Loneliness often shows up with other emotions, but it can be difficult to parse out what those are. You might need to take some time to do some soul searching. There’s often a lot of anger and resentment associated with caregiving, especially if you’ve given up a lot to be there for your senior. Explore those emotions and do what you can to manage them in a healthy way.
Find Other Ways to Branch Out
You might want to try branching out more in other ways, too. Try going to a different grocery store or talking to people in line when you’re stuck somewhere. These are little ways that you can make connections, however brief, with the world around you that is outside of your thoughts and your experience.
Isolation and loneliness are dangerous for caregivers. If you’re starting to feel the effects of loneliness, it’s not too late for you to do something about it. You’ll need to stick with a plan of action, though, because loneliness can creep right back in quickly.