Caregiver loneliness makes dementia care even harder
When you’re caring for an older adult with dementia, it’s common to experience caregiver loneliness. It feels like nobody else understands what you’re going through, even if you have a good support system.
You also might not share the full details with family or friends because you want to protect them from the harsh reality of the situation. This often compounds the stress and makes you feel isolated.
Dr. Barry J. Jacobs writes about caregiver loneliness in dementia care and shares 4 tips to help you overcome it and work toward more balance. As a member of the AARP Caregiver Expert Panel and a clinical psychologist and family therapist, he’s an expert on the challenges of caregiving. Here, we share highlights from his article.
4 tips to overcome caregiver loneliness from Dr. Jacobs
1. Connect with people
You need caring people in your life to support you as you care for your older adult. Reach out to family and friends. Even though you may need to make an effort to keep them close, those relationships will help you reduce stress, prevent isolation, and boost your mood.
A caregiver support group is another wonderful place to meet people who are in situations similar to yours. They’ll understand what you’re going through and you might even be more comfortable sharing the gritty details of your caregiving life and how you’re truly feeling. You might benefit from both in-person groups and online groups.
2. Have deeper relationships too
It’s great to have people to get coffee or lunch with, but to stop the feelings of loneliness, it’s important to have deeper relationships as well.
These are people you feel comfortable sharing your real feelings with – good and bad. You can truly confide in them and trust that they’ll be supportive.
3. Express your real feelings
You might feel like sharing negative feelings will make you a burden on others or sink you into a depression.
But sharing and connecting with others will lighten your emotional load. It will also help others get a better understanding of the situation so they can better support you.
4. Accept praise
You might instinctively wave away any praise from family or friends. It could be because you don’t feel like you deserve it or because you feel like they don’t know enough about the situation.
It’s important to accept praise – it’s another way to connect with people who care about you and allow them to provide support by cheering you on.
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Shout Out UK
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