4 ways to overcome carer loneliness in dementia care

Loneliness

When you’re caring for an older adult with Alzheimer’s disease or 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 summarise essential tips from his article and add practical suggestions.

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 carer 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 carers 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.

If you’re not comfortable speaking so openly with the people in your life, you might consider speaking with a counselor or a faith leader.

They’re trained to listen and not judge and you may feel more free to share your inner thoughts with a neutral person outside of your social circle.

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.

This article was originally published by our friends at Daily Caring.

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Comments
  1. A generic article that TOTALLY misses the point for aged TOTALLY SOLE CARERS supporting an aged partner with advanced (or advancing) Alzheimers. How about an article from a real person of such experience rather than theory. I speak as a current 83YO partner of an 88YO advanced Alzheimers sufferer. Other than for iOS FaceTime with an overseas daughter and interstate niece we have zero family or other support available. We are alone with zero visitors and find it practically impossible to find suitable respite care services for either. Publish a REAL EXPERIENCE article.

    1. 2 oraganisations in various localities are:

      – Baptist Community Services (Sydney, Canberra, Newcastle.)

      – Hammond Care (Sydney but not sure of other localities.)

      – Social Workers at your Public & Private Hospitals.

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