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Let's Not be Lonely Anymore!

Margery Pabst Steinmetz - September 11, 2017 02:02 PM

This past Labor Day, my husband and I attended a college football game.

A good friend invited a group of about 30 people, most of whom we had not met.  So, as is typical, the guys watched and discussed the game while most of the gals, with some exceptions, chatted about family, food, school while keeping an eye out for the crucial points in the game.  Inevitably, the subject of caregiving came up.  As the topic of caregiving heated up, some of the guys joined to comment.

Typically, everyone knew someone who is a caregiver or was a caregiver.  Even the younger set is familiar, often intimately with the role of the family caregiver.  As I shared my work on these websites, and, including AFFIRMATIONS, blogs, radio shows, several in the group commented that they did not know about the extent of caregiver resources.  This is astounding given we live in the internet age!  Several commented that friends or family who are currently caregiving seem to feel as they are each out there, isolated and alone as caregivers.  Comments like, "I need to let my mother-in-law know about community resources" or "I'm going to encourage my sister to ask if her museum does respite for caregivers" or "I should google national resources like AARP and share with my friend who is really struggling."

These examples demonstrate the need to ensure we have no lonely caregivers out there!  When I was caregiving, I remember thinking, "this is only happening to me" and feeling isolated from the rest of the world as though I were in a day to day "bubble" that only housed my loved one and me.

Ten years on from that particular caregiving experience, my memories of those lonely feelings persist.  Caregiver loneliness is certainly not only due to lack of resources; however it does suggest that each of us communicate with a friend or family member who might need help combating isolation, with the hope of achieving a higher quality of life.  The multitude of resources (spiritual, psycho-social, emotional and physical) are available and growing.  

Let' find ways to alleviate caregiver loneliness and isolation.  Building personal awareness about the potential for sharing resources and mentoring lonely caregivers is the first step.

Step two is to actually to share and mentor in a manner that is not advice oriented (e.g."Here's what you should do"), but rather offered as, "Here was my experience and what I found was helpful."  Personal experience, telling your story, sharing resources that worked for you will usually be gratefully accepted.

Margery Pabst Steinmetz is an author of "Enrich Your Caregiving Journey" and "Words of Care."  She is the Founder of and the caregiving expert for eCareDiary.  Listen to her radio show, "Caregivers Speak." on two Tuesdays each month.  This month, Margery interviews Liz Kitchens, the lead guest blogger for Liz founded her blog, ""

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