How do you combat caregiver loneliness?
We are all feeling slightly disconnected from the world right now which can amplify the feelings of isolation. You may be craving human touch and social connectivity. For both caregivers and aging adults, unfortunately, this can be commonplace. I wish there was one cure, remedy, schedule or trick that would alleviate the feelings of loneliness or being disconnected from the world. Much of it has to do with withdrawals from what would be our “normal” everyday lives to help a friend, loved one, parent or spouse. What is important to try to do is notice when these feelings are starting to bubble up and change the narrative. Small steps in developing coping strategies can help build a better path. For example, work on building a caregiver support system for you. Whether it’s a friend, neighbor, co-worker or someone from an organized support group that you connect with. Reach out and share. Reach out and just say hi. Reach out and ask to go for a walk. Reach out and ask them how their day is. Bottom line connect with someone! They most likely can’t replace everything you are missing, but they may offer you something you didn’t know you needed. Changing your willingness to connect and share with others will help you recharge and reengage.
Are there tools or tricks to make caregiving easier?
Caregiving can be overwhelming! Many find managing doctor visits, medications, schedules, meals, house care and everyday life challenges to be formidable. We must accept that we cannot do it all, or at least, we cannot do it all well… all of the time. There is an adage “Change is the end result of all true learning”- Leo Buscaglia. What helped me the most during my caregiving years was to learn to change and pivot. To learn to try new things and be flexible. Change is hard for many but being open to accepting suggestions from others - even if they pushed me out of my comfort zone. - was truly beneficial. Suggestions like making my home smarter and scheduling preordered groceries pick up or setting up a smart device to remind me of daily medication schedules. Small changes can make big impact. When things are overwhelming, the one trick we can try is to simplify everyday things.