Caregivers are often isolated. This may be particularly true of those who provide care for loved ones in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. As it progresses, patients are less likely to get out and about. Every day they lose a little bit of their freedom, and that seclusion extends to their dedicated caregiver, albeit to a lesser degree.
Contact with the outside world diminishes
Isolation has an emotional component. Humans crave community and need connections. The nature of a caregiver’s job underscores the desire for outside interaction. However, the logistics involved in making quick jaunts or visits to the doctor become so complicated that the caregiver may instead choose to pursue alternative avenues. For the caregiver and their loved one or patient, the transition to an increased level of isolation can be difficult.
Create connection opportunities
Caregivers can avoid isolation by communicating their needs to friends and family members. Don’t assume that your situation is obvious or that anyone looking in from the outside understands your experience. Before taking on caregiving responsibilities, could you have imagined the turn your life would take? Probably not. So why expect non-caregivers to grasp the extent of your duties or take notice of your absences at social functions?
You may rarely attend family events or have nights out with friends. However, others might not see that as caregiver isolation. Spell it out. Explain why you’re absent, but go a step further by requesting interaction. Don’t be shy to ask a close friend to check in with you once in a while, to drop by for short visits, or buzz you on the phone.
Connect with social media
Connecting with friends is easier today than at any other time in history. Don’t be afraid to embrace opportunities to interact through social media. Reconnect with friends and family members. Social media is a creative way to keep up with your children and extended family. However, be responsible; you’re not seeking drama, merely positive communication.
Online communities that support caregivers can be an excellent way of connecting with others who share similar experiences. You may find your involvement in these groups to be rewarding.
Connect with community organizations
Investigate what resources are available in your community. Is there an adult day care center or a supervised safe environment to give you a break for a few hours? Contact the Alzheimer’s Association to find support groups and local resources.
Please do not consider avoiding isolation as just another thing on your caregiving to-do list. Finding ways to interact with the community will take effort on your part, but the results will be transformational.
Note: Alzheimer’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Alzheimer’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Alzheimer’s Disease.
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