It can be a lonely job, caring for someone with a dementia illness such as Alzheimer’s disease—solitary for the individual with Alzheimer’s, as well as the family caregiver.

In fact, in a recent survey of family caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer’s, many reported isolation as their biggest challenge.

A downhearted caregiver.

74% of the surveyed caregivers of individuals with a dementia illness reported that they and their loved ones have become more isolated as result of the disease. Because of this, 85% of these caregivers believe they have a reduced quality of life. Why? The most common reason revolves around fear of the potential and unpredictable behavioral symptoms of this disease such as confusion, memory loss, repetition and poor judgment.

These issues can make going out frightening, not only for those with dementia, but for their caregivers as well, increasing their risks of isolation as they opt to stay in versus venture outside their homes, according to experts and research conducted by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead® network. What’s even more potentially dangerous is once isolation begins, it can set in motion a spiral of events that could lead to further emotional tolls on the caregiver.

While it may appear that isolation is an issue that only affects the individual with Alzheimer’s or his or her caregiver, research shows that it can permeate other areas too. According to the survey, 62% of family caregivers who are staying home more spend less time (and, as a result, less money) at local businesses.

3 thoughts on “Risk of Isolation: A Downward Spiral

  • Phyllis Anderson

    isolation is the # 1 problem for me as a caregiver primarily because my husband refuses to engage with other people and gets very angry with me when I try to arrange for someone to be with him so that I can get out. No matter what I say, he accuses me of not loving him. It becomes so problematic that it is not worth making the effort and he refuses having a companion stay with him.
    He expends incredible amount of energy trying to hide his problem from others. Any suggestions? Do I just hire someone to stay with him and leave hoping he will eventually adjust?

  • Laraine Goodban

    Sadly, am the sole caregiver for my husband, We have two sins that live locally, but, for their own reasons have not been in contact with us for 15 years.

    We have two wonderful caregivers from Home Instead (Juliet and Jill) visit my husband and take him for walks to give me a break.

    I try to catch up with the housework.

    Truth be told though a lot of times I sit and do nothing… I enjoy the not having to be the police officer, the chauffeur, accountant, cook, personal shopper, bather, the shadow, the mum, the nag, nurse, laundry maid, Molly maid, cat whisperer, garbage collector. Manicurist, tv guide, mechanic, a/c installer and remover (6th floor, quite a challenge), verbal and emotional punch bag, …

    He also goes to Allendale Adult Day Program while I go to work to pay for his attendance in the program.

    I find myself VERY lonely especially in the evening as the program is only accessible Mon – Fri 7:30 am. – 4:30 pm – So any social activity at the weekend or an evening I am unable to attend –

    I appreciate what help we do get, I often wonder “what about me” I don’t want to be the grown up all the time… I want someone to pamper me

  • Virginia Robeck

    This story seems very sad to me. The caregiver is in a difficult situation that is certainly affecting her emotional health in a way that could lead to illness emotional and/or physical. No one should have to deal with this alone. I can only guess at how hard it is to have this happen to a loved one.

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