Loneliness – A Silent Killer Of Elderly Caregivers

When a person becomes old, he or she dreams about having a comfortable life with loved ones. There is no more longing for a fat paycheck or having a wardrobe full of trendy clothes. All that the heart longs for is the companionship and compassion of loved ones, which comprises family members, friends, relatives or maybe even neighbors. However, all wishes are not fulfilled!

Sometimes, life becomes topsy-turvy, and they have to become caregivers. They gradually become disconnected from their social circle as they have to work round the clock to fulfill their caregiving responsibilities. The result is a feeling of loneliness that leads to serious health complications and sometimes, even death! So, are you an elderly caregiver? If yes, know more and take the necessary steps to reclaim your life.

How does this happen?

Although it is earlier discussed that the lack of time to socialize leads to loneliness, it is not that straightforward as it seems. It happens that elderly caregivers living with other family members start feeling loneliness, especially when they started to think that they must not overburden their children by sharing their problems or when their children fail to understand their needs. They start overlooking their own health problems to continue their caregiving duties.

Some even skip visiting scheduled appointments with their physicians and develop health complication causing further exhaustion or finding no more energy to engage in their favorite hobbies. In some cases, their loved ones start to distance themselves away from these elderly caregivers for fear of sharing the caregiver responsibilities!

What can you do?

If you are an elderly caregiver or you know someone who is a senior and taking care of a loved one, talk to them often. By communicating with them occasionally, you can reduce their sense of loneliness to a large extent. Ultimately, they will also get someone who can listen to their concerns and problems with patience. They will again feel lively and a part of the existing society. Also, you can do many things that are as follows:

  • Encourage to spend some time in prayer or meditation
  • Go with them on a leisurely walk in the nearby park or garden
  • Inspire to take the help of caregiving gadgets (if they have the funds)
  • Ask them to not overburden themselves with responsibilities
  • Request them to also monitor their own health along with caregiving
  • Find a local caregiver support resource
  • Make them enroll for a caregiving coaching session
  • Help in non-caregiving tasks like grocery shopping or refilling the medical prescriptions
  • Encourage them to join an online community of caregivers

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), loneliness can have a more serious impact on our health than smoking or obesity. So, when there are elderly caregivers feeling isolation and loneliness, there can be health issues such as a decrease in immunity, weight loss or weight gain, insomnia, depression, and more. There can be also chronic back pain or shoulder injuries due to their nature of work.