This article from yesterday’s New York Times “New Old Age” Blog is about caregiver isolation. Here are key excerpts from the article:
* Like so many caregivers, [Ms. Sherman-Lewis] has discovered that along with the abandoned career, the hands-on tasks, the medical scheduling, the insurance tussles and the disrupted sleep, she faces another trial: social isolation.
* “Caregiving is done with a lot of love and affection, but there’s a lot of loss involved,” said Carey Wexler Sherman, a gerontologist at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. “People talk about friends disappearing, about even family members not wanting to be involved. It’s a lonely business.”
* Sometimes, caregivers isolate themselves.
* Yet a habit of avoiding others — or watching them avoid you — collides with a growing body of research showing how damaging isolation and loneliness can be. They are associated with a host of ills, including heart disease and stroke. Among older people, isolation is linked to depression, even higher mortality. Lonely old people, Dutch researchers have found, are more apt to develop dementia.
* “The support is what leads to less stress, less depression, better health and delayed nursing-home admissions,” Dr. Mittelman said. Interestingly, her team has found that “instrumental support,” in which others actually help with tasks, has less impact than emotional support. “Having someone outside who is paying attention and who cares is more important,” she said.
* “Don’t invite me for lunch — you know I can’t go,” Ms. Sherman-Lewis said. “Just bring a pizza and a bottle of wine and come by.”
The full article is worth reading:
Health | The New Old Age
Caregiving Is Hard Enough. Isolation Can Make It Unbearable.
by Paula Span
The New York Times
Aug. 4, 2017