Ways Caregivers Can Strengthen Connections & Reduce LonelinessMarch 31, 2021
by Caregiver Specialist Heather Resnick
One of the most consistent concerns I hear in my conversations with family caregivers is isolation. When providing care for a loved one, especially one who needs 24-hour supervision, it is common for friends and family to pull away and for caregivers to feel cut-off from people they once counted on for support. Here are a few options for strengthening connections and reducing loneliness:
- Get comfortable being by yourself—Thinking of time alone as “solitude” rather than “loneliness” can help you live each moment to the fullest. As Vivek Murthy says in his book “Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World”: “Solitude allows us to get comfortable being with ourselves, which makes it easier to be ourselves in interactions with others. That authenticity helps build strong connections. Nature, meditation, prayer, art, music, and time spent outdoors can all be sources of solitary comfort and joy.”
- Consider a caregiver support group—Talking with other people in your situation helps you realize you’re not alone, provides a safe place to share feelings and offer and receive support, and expand your social network. Click here for information on caregiver groups at NSSC.
- Reach out to existing friends and family—In a perfect world, your family and friends would recognize that you need them and inundate you with offers of help and invitations. Unfortunately, it may be up to you to make the first move and let people know you would like to connect.
- Cultivate new relationships—Volunteering at a local school or community center, joining a club or book discussion, chatting up the neighbors, or taking a class are some ways to expand your social network.
- Take advantage of available resources—Many organizations have friendly visiting programs, volunteers who make check-in calls, home-delivered meal service and even pet therapy programs.