Caregiving is a job which is as rewarding as it is valuable. Nevertheless, it can create a sense of isolation and loneliness on the caregiver’s part. This can have somewhat negative effects on the caregiver’s overall health and well-being. Our team at Hila have decided to look at useful strategies caregivers can apply to ensure they stay well and take care of themselves too.
Isolation and loneliness
Feelings of isolation and loneliness can be caused by a withdrawal from previous habits and lifestyle, especially if friends continue with their daily routines. Some caregivers are left to feel alone in their caregiving duties. Likewise, caregivers without support from other caregivers in similar situations may feel as though no one can really relate to their situation. This can lead to a withdrawal from social activities and relationships that they previously enjoyed.
Impacts of caregiver isolation
Feeling alone in your struggles as a caregiver will have obvious emotional impacts, there can also be unexpected physical side effects caused by the onset of depression. Although not all caregivers may experience serious physical and emotional effects caused by isolation or loneliness, even the slightest feeling of being alone in your journey as a caregiver can have a significant impact on your overall well-being; making you less able to focus on work, family and responsibilities outside of your care recipient.
Strategies for staying well
One of the best ways to combat isolation and loneliness is to build some time into your caregiving routine to focus on yourself. While this may sound like a fantasy to caregivers who already have a jam-packed schedule, there are some ways to help re-connect to the people and activities that help restore your sense of connection and contentment.
Maintaining your sense of self
Invest in some time to yourself. Use this time allotted to participate in activities that make you feel renewed. Whether it’s yoga, hikes, or even a movie and/or dinner at home with your family; involvement in your own interests may help you feel connected to your sense of self and help keep you in touch with your friends and loved ones. Even if they don’t completely understand what you’re going through, you may find that these individuals offer support in a different way.
While your friends, or even your spouse, may not seem to understand what you’re going through, it’s good to acknowledge that there are people in similar situations feeling the same way. Check out whether there are any online support forums which may help you find common ground with caregivers in similar situations and offer a feeling of community in the midst of your isolation. The main goal is to have people to whom you can reach out when you need a little extra support.
While you may find that friends and family are able to assist you in caregiving duties from time to time, allowing you the time to focus on your own well-being is great. Periods of respite care like those offered by our team of carers at Hila, can allow you to focus on your own personal needs without worrying about the safety of your care recipient.
Feeling alone is an issue many caregivers face at some point in time throughout their caregiving duties. Yet, caregivers needn’t feel ashamed in wanting to seek support. Loneliness is a common problem that many caregivers can face. Learning how to cope with the problem is essential so that you don’t find yourself facing caregiver burnout. Ultimately, taking care of yourself and acknowledging your feelings helps you to be a stronger caregiver.
For more information about how Hila can help you in your caregiving journey, click here.