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