Caretaker Challenge #2: Loneliness – A Primer for People Who Help Others on North Carolina Social Security Disability

August 10, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Caregivers who administer to beneficiaries (or hurt or sick people on North Carolina Social Security Disability) often put the needs of the hurt/sick person ahead of their own needs.

This can be dangerous, not only for your mental and physical health, but also for the beneficiary’s mental and physical health. You must pay attention to and attend to your needs to maximize your utility as a caregiver. To that end, this North Carolina Social Security Disability blog is highlighting some fundamental challenges that caregivers face in a four-part series that provides tips, tools, and resources.

Our Second Main Challenge: Loneliness

No matter how much you love and care about the person who is sick and/or ill, when you are a caregiver – even in an intimate situation – you feel a certain degree of loneliness and isolation. This is natural. When another person needs you so much all the time, every day, you may forget to take time off for yourself, forget that you also have needs and even actively suppress your desire for companionship and understanding “because you have a job to do.”

This is all very understandable. It’s all very human. But it’s dangerous. When you operate in a vacuum and take the weight of the world on your shoulders, you may develop an inflated sense of responsibility for the beneficiary’s mental and even physical health. And this can be bad because there are certain things over which you have little to no control.

For instance, say you are a caretaker for an elderly woman who has broken her hip and who needs Social Security Disability to pay for her rent, food, and medical care. The woman might feel extremely depressed about her situation. While you can help with the logistical and physical aspects of care – and also be an empathetic and compassionate caregiver – you can’t take away her depression. And if you operate from the perspective of “I can do it all if only if I try hard enough,” you may run yourself ragged.

All this is to say that you might want to avail yourself of resources such as:

• Talk to an experienced, highly-esteemed North Carolina Social Security Disability law firm to help manage the beneficiary’s legal issues;
• Find support groups of other caregivers;
• Identify people and resources who can help you and listen to you when the caregiving becomes “too much”;
• Give yourself breaks throughout the day – indulge yourself with nice meals, a warm bath, exercise and meditation, healthy food, etc.;
• Practice self-forgiveness and self-compassion. You are only human, and you are doing your best – that’s what’s important.

More Web Resources:

caretaker loneliness

importance of social support