Caregiving is a demanding unpaid job for a family caregiver. It often leads to a feeling of isolation, especially if you are used to socializing. Going out to dinner with friends, happy hour after work on Friday, or simply sitting in the backyard for a long chat are activities a caregiver often doesn’t have time for unless they thoughtfully examine ways to overcome isolation that comes with caregiving. It is even more difficult for the long-distance caregiver.
How Can a Caregiver Overcome Isolation?
1. Reach out to family and friends. Making connections and staying in contact with family and friends can help combat feelings of isolation. A cousin, a friend of the family you just met, or someone who comes into the home occasionally from an agency for in-home care.
Talking to anyone and everyone you meet can become a lasting relationship. Easier said and done for most. Connect with people in person: Friends, family members, and colleagues can be your best support system.
2. Connect with other long-distance caregivers. Talking to others who understand what you’re going through can be beneficial. Using technology to search for support groups nearby or online can produce avenues to explore opportunities for socialization. If you are. away from your spouse, use Skype or FaceTime to keep in touch for a more personal connection. Phone calls are always beneficial.
4. Taking a short walk when others are out walking allows connecting with other people. Maybe you’ll find a group or a club, such as a book club, to join. Being informed and learning about the experiences of others can lead to support groups and online communities.
6. Practice self-care. Make sure to take care of yourself both mentally and physically. Eating nutritious meals, finding time to exercise, and getting plenty of rest are essential factors in maintaining good health. Taking time out for yourself helps give you the energy you need to tackle caregiving tasks.
7. Reach out and connect with other caregivers: Joining a support group or online community can be invaluable to caregivers, who can share problems, exchange advice and make valuable connections.
8. Make time for yourself: practicing self-care will sharpen your focus to find ways to connect with others. Self-care should always be a priority. Therefore, try to prioritize social activities when you are feeling your best. Sometimes going somewhere on your own provides enough opportunities for socialization. Going to the local coffee shop, grabbing a bite to eat, or simply sitting or walking in the park.
Sometimes those opportunities are not there for you because you can’t leave your loved one alone. But there are ways to do it all online. Call someone and have a cup of coffee while talking to them, whether it be a business or social call. Imagine yourself in the coffee shop while having a conversation over the phone.
9. Make social activities a priority: Make sure to include leisure activities into the weekly schedule, such as visiting a museum, going to a movie, or having coffee with a close friend. Seize those unexpected opportunities: Look for ways to add more social interactions into your day, such as attending free lectures, concerts or volunteering in the community.
10. Talk to a professional: It’s essential to find a safe space to talk about the challenges of caregiving. Talking can help to process your feelings and relieve some of the stress and depression. Writing them down is just as therapeutic as talking to someone.
Finding a chatroom is difficult, especially if you are looking for one with similar interests. Chat For Caregivers is a chatroom for caregivers. Talking with others about mundane daily tasks can help you find the necessary connections. Try chatforcaregivers.com and see the difference it can make in diminishing your isolation. Walking around completing simple chores with your phone with the chat available at your fingertips, knowing that someone is there to respond is life-changing. We do it and find it very rewarding. We all look forward to the time we can meet; setting aside time is a priority. It’s safe, secure, and at no cost to you. All caregivers are welcome. We have so much in common.