You may feel lonely as you don’t see many people other than the person you care for. This can be particularly hard if you find it hard to leave the house. Or you might have lots of people around you all the time, perhaps paid support workers, other professionals, family members or neighbours. But their lives are very different from yours, so you can still feel isolated.
Other things can make you feel lonely too. If you live a long way from the rest of your family it can be hard for them to understand how much caring you do and how best to help you. Even if your family lives nearby they may not offer you as much support as you need. Or perhaps you have had to give up paid work and you miss this.
As a carer you may also find that you have your own health problems or that caring exhausts you. This can be very draining and can make it even harder to tackle feelings of loneliness.
Get in touch with your local carer service
Your local carer service will be able to help you find support near where you live. Many of them run groups for carers where you can get a chance to meet other people in a similar situation. Other carers will understand how you feel and may be able to share some of their own experiences. Your local carer service may also have trips out and social activities, either with or without the person you care for.
You might like to watch this video from the Campaign to end loneliness about Aegon who is a carer and who has found support from his local carer service.
Talk to your family and friends
Your family and friends may be able to help a bit more, particularly if they know how you feel. They may want to help but don’t know how best to do this.
Be honest with them and tell them what they could do to help. Be specific. Perhaps you’d like them to come round and have a coffee each week, or help by doing some shopping for you and then dropping it round in person. They may be able to give you a proper break if they can sit with the person you care for while you go out for a couple of hours.
If you don’t feel comfortable having them around perhaps they could still support you over the phone and/or online. Arrange a time each week when you speak to them even if you haven’t got anything special to tell them.
Befriending schemes offer companionship and support to you or the person you care for. Find out more about sitting and befriending services.
Many of these schemes aim specifically to reduce isolation and loneliness. They may visit you, or the person you care for, in person or over the phone. This is time for a regular chat with someone different. Contact your local carer service to see what is available near you, or search online.
It is worth getting in touch with organisations such as Age UK, Mind, Independent Age, Scope, and The National Austistic Society to see what is available for you, and the person you care for, where you live. You can also search for schemes near you on the Befriending Networks website .
Looking after yourself
A good starting point is to have a carer’s assessment so you get the chance to discuss your needs with your local council. The assessment is free and your local council will use it to decide what support to give you. Find out more about carer’s assessments.
It can really help to physically leave the house each day, even if for just the smallest of reasons, and even if you don’t go very far. Does your local community run any groups that you could go to? Is your library nearby? Are there any special groups run for the person you care for – such as dementia carer groups? All of these would give you a chance to meet other people and be in a different environment for a while.
You might also benefit from some respite. Find out more about getting a break.
Find further support
- The Silver Line is a free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. You can call them on 0800 4 70 80 90.
They offer free, weekly friendship calls for carers who might be feeling a bit isolated. This is called Silver Line Telephone Friends.
- Campaign to end loneliness
- Caring for someone who is lonely on Age UK
Next review due: August 2018