4 Ways to Overcome Caregiver Loneliness in Dementia Care

How to reduce caregiver loneliness when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia

Caregiver loneliness makes dementia care more challenging

When you’re caring for an older adult with dementia, loneliness is a common feeling.

It might feel like nobody else understands what you’re going through, even if you have a good support system.

You also might avoid sharing the full details of the situation with family or friends because you want to protect them from the harsh reality.

This can compound the stress and make you feel more alone.

Dr. Barry J. Jacobs writes about caregiver loneliness in dementia care and shares 4 tips to help overcome it and work toward more balance. 

As a member of the AARP Caregiver Expert Panel and a clinical psychologist and family therapist, Dr. Jacobs is an expert on the challenges of caregiving.

Here, we summarize essential tips from his article.

 

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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.

Even though you may need to make an effort to keep them close, reach out to family and friends. Those relationships 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 – there are in-person and online groups.

In these groups, fellow caregivers will understand what you’re going through. 

You might even be more comfortable sharing the not-so-positive details of your caregiving life and how you’re truly feeling than you would with family or friends. 

 

2. Lean on deeper relationships too
It’s great to have people to get coffee or lunch with, but to stop the feelings of loneliness, it also helps to have deeper relationships.

These are the 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 true feelings
You might think that sharing any 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.

But 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.

 

Next Step  Get advice from Dr. Barry J. Jacobs on how to overcome loneliness in dementia caregiving at AARP

 

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By DailyCaring Editorial Team

 

This article wasn’t sponsored and doesn’t contain affiliate links. For more information, see How We Make Money.


6 Comments

  • Reply July 14, 2020

    Southern Girl

    An online group can’t take the place or actually being around someone, and I have found that in looking after my parents, that church they went to so loyally never offered to help out. Maybe a few sent cards now and then. My parents said, what happened to all these people we used to know – don’t they care? I used to take food to events that were organized but no one brings food to us. Being in a small town is a handicap also – even before the virus there was not many events or groups. With the virus now turning out to be a long term thing – the social isolation is going to get worse for a lot of people

    • Reply July 14, 2020

      DailyCaring

      It’s true, online interactions will never replace seeing people in person. But for now, to keep everyone safer, it’s important to reduce contact to reduce exposure to Covid-19.

      Hopefully having regular online interactions will help reduce the feelings of isolation, even though it’s not a perfect substitute for in-person visits.

      We’re so sorry to hear that the church community hasn’t been there to support your parents and you 🙁

  • Reply March 24, 2019

    Caregiver

    If caregivers had family and friends for support, of course they would be less lonely and depressed. But the reality is very few people care about dementia patients or their caregivers. Family and friends quietly disappear because most don’t want to be bothered. It is the exceptional few that are willing to listen and be supportive. It is practically nonexistent the number who will actually help without expecting to be paid.

    Caregiving support groups mostly reinforce what people already know and that isn’t necessarily uplifting. Counseling, whether online or in person, cannot change the circumstances, and is often dependent on payment.

    There needs to be much more publicly funded support because most families run out of money. But even in this circumstance, helping others is little more than a job. People get burned out and numb to caring.

    Exceptionally few people care and will volunteer for strangers. If more did, burdens could be more widely shared.

  • Reply July 18, 2017

    Aspencare

    Really a nice blog to share and discussing the caregiver loneliness and how she feels isolated from others thus making the dementia care even harder. Thanks for the informative blog. Keep sharing such more blogs.

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