Caregiving for an aging parent isn’t easy for anyone. Even when you really love and have concern for your parent, you can end up getting lonely and isolated from the world and your life. As a caregiver, you’re being very selfless and it might not seem right to talk about your own problems with friends because you’ll feel like you’re burdening them. You can sometimes be too busy or stressed to connect with other people. As your parent’s needs become more demanding over time, you might not even notice how isolated you’ve become and how your social life has been deteriorating with your parent’s health.
The Danger of Being Lonely
Not to focus on the negative, but there are some things you need to realize about loneliness; it’s more serious that most people might realize. To your physical and mental health, being lonely is worse for you than being obese, and almost as bad for you as being poor. When a person is lonely, they experience increased blood pressure, disturbed sleep, higher stress levels, and other depression symptoms. As much as you need food and shelter, you need socialization and acceptance.
Something that’s often talked about is elderly people being lonely, which is something you can easily fix. For both senior parents and their adult children, making or rekindling real relationships with people is an essential challenge. Here are three tips to have the healthy connections you crave:
- Intimate connection: this is a feeling you get around people whom you can be your true self with. You know that these people will always support you and you can have deep conversations with them.
- Relational connection: these connections are in-person and benefit all people involved, such as going out to coffee with a friend.
- Collective connections: for this type of connection, you get to feel a part of a larger group, like a member in a book club.
All three of these are needed for the social aspect of your life to be satisfied. During caregiving, even with the help of senior home services to take care of your loved one, you always have the possibility of loneliness and it can be a challenge to overcome that. It’s very necessary to make the time for social activities and if you need to, schedule regular outings with friends.
You’ll see the positive difference in your life and your health as soon as you start seeking more of these connections and realizing how important it is to get them. Keep your friends and family close by possibly involving them with your caregiving duties or bringing your parent along with you to social situations. It’s also vital to have some time away from your elderly loved one for the sanity of both of you.
Care Connection provides senior care in Grand Ledge, MI. For more information about our senior care services, please call us today at 517–381-2433.