Being a caregiver is often like being the “Lone Ranger”. It may be difficult to keep up with or reach out to family and friends – and it may feel like these relationships are fading. Generally, caregivers are more likely to feel isolated if they cannot leave their home, have experienced a major life change (such as the loss of a job), live in a rural or remote area, and do not actively engage in a hobby or other activity.
If you are feeling alone and stressed, don’t be too hard on yourself – research has proven that many caregivers find it difficult to make new friends and maintain friendships. The National Alliance for Caregiving conducted a study in 2018 and found that many caregivers suffer from isolation, which can often lead to depression. But you don’t have to suffer, an article by the Mayo Clinic shows that there are things you can do to feel more connected and reduce your stress:
- Ask for and try to get help
- Focus on the good and the difference you are making
- Set realistic goals
- Find and connect with caregiving resources in your community
- Set personal health goals
- Engage in self care
Health in Aging also provides some great ideas to reduce the stress of feeling isolated:
- Outdoor activities – go on a hike or just sit in a nice park for a while
- Physical activities – get active!
- Stay in touch with close friends and relatives
- Check out online support groups
Parents and caregivers of individuals with MWS have special needs, and clearly, more research is needed to better support them (Pelentsov et al., 2015). If you have information or advice you would like to share with other caregivers of individuals with MWS, please contact us, we would love to hear from you!