Since being a live in caregiver I've discovered my friends are "fairweather friends".

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A year ago I gave up my employment and locked up my condo and moved into care for my elderly mum. I'm almost 53. My "friends" know how difficult this is for me, it is very isolating and lonely. I have no way of meeting new people, yet if I want to get together for lunch with friends it is always me that has to initiate it. Nobody emails me to ask me how I'm doing, it's like out of sight out of mind. When I do meet them for a visit, the first thing they ask me is how my mum is, nobody asks me how I am doing anymore. There is some Facebook interaction but I'm slowly trying to spend less time on FB because I find reading about all the wonderful, exciting things everyone is doing makes me feel sad and a bit down. I'm happy for them but not for me. I've been looking for an online support forum to chat with people who know what I am feeling, along with the fact that I receive no help from siblings, I feel resentful. Does anyone understand what I'm feeling?

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Actually I have every afternoon off for 4 hrs. I also have the freedom to email all the time. To be perfectly honest, the last thing I want to do on a social outing is get together with other people and talk about "caregiving", the whole idea of socializing is to get off that subject and talk about other things. I never bring up the subject of caregiving when I meet my friends for lunch. It's not that I don't get out .. I do.. I go out for lunch at least once a week. It's just that my friends don't email me and ask me how I am doing but they are always willing to get together if I initiate a lunch out.
As far as meeting new friends, that is next to impossible when your job is a live-in-caregiver, you have no colleagues. Once I am not doing this anymore I am sure I will have an opportunity to meet some new people but for now that is not an option. I guess I just assumed my friends were thoughtful and considerate like I have always been to them, I have learned that is not the case. Life goes on, but I am glad I have found this forum/message board because it has been helpful for me. Most people on here have a far worse situation than I have. Reading other people's stories puts everything into perspective.
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I don't think your friends are intentionally rude, dismissive or uncaring; everyone just has busy lives and the caregiving role is isolating like no other. Others continue their lives and aren't really insensitive just not "sensitive to what you are going thru day-to-day". If they aren't going through it, they just can't understand; if they are going through it, they may feel they have enough on their plate just managing their own affairs.

They may not invite you out or initiate invitations because they don't want you to feel bad or feel left out when you can't come. I know you'd still like to be invited and make your own decision; but they might not know best way to approach.

I would say, if you have one or two BFFs or former BFFs, then just give them a call or send them a note and tell them exactly how you are feeling "isolated" and that you would really like to get together more often and would they mind giving you a call next time there is a get together. You could also host a small gathering of 2-3 friends one evening for wine and cheese (keep it simple) or over for tea/dessert on a Sunday afternoon to just catch up. Maybe start a book club and meet once a month at your place (especially if you can't get someone to take care of mom so you can go out).

Continue to keep communications open and set up the activity or lunch date as you've been doing.

Lastly, as others have suggested, expand your circle of friends and consider starting a new group where you meet at one another's homes or a diner, McD, etc. one day a month with other caregivers (those actively caring for someone in the home and those with a loved one in AL, memory care, etc.). Consider having everyone bring a small dessert or cookies, tea, candy, etc. to share with the group --light snacks so its not a burden on anyone. Maybe discuss a movie, craft, etc, book, etc.

If you need some names in your community, stop by the local senior center and talk with director to see if she will let you post a list or invitation to others who might want to be part of such a group.
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Kathryn, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your Grateful Game. I'm going to start doing that with my mom on a daily basis. It will be good for both of us. I've read many times about keeping a list, but never thought to do it as a daily exercise with my mom. I'm so sorry your mom can no longer do that with you. Thanks SO much for sharing that idea!
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It is perfectly normal to feel the feelings you have been experiencing. This is a sign that it may be time to look at other options or at least to find a way to get some respite time. When we become resentful it is not healthy for us and it is not healthy for the one we care for. It can be a vicious cycle being resentful then feeling guilty about feeling that way. There are friends in life who come and go. Your friends probably have not had experience with this type of situation. Is there one friend in particular that you feel closer to? If so then talk to her about your feelings making sure she understands that you don't blame her but that you really need some help and support. If these friends do not come through for you after you have let them know your feelings then maybe it is time to find some new friends who can support you in this time of need. It doesn't mean you have to ditch the old ones LOL just add some new ones. Look for caregiver support groups in your area. You may just find some new friends there who can relate to what you are experiencing.
Also start playing what I call The Grateful Game- Every day write down five things that you are grateful for that day. On rough days look back in your journal and you will be reminded of all the good in your life. You can also play it with someone. Until my mother could no longer communicate we used to ask each other every day what we were grateful for. She would tell me her five things and I would tell her mine. It will really help to shift you into a more positive frame of mind.
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macada & others - I don't think your friends are intentionally out to hurt you. What I do think is that some people have a giving personality and other people have a taking personality. If we have cultivated relationships with people who are takers, when we as caregivers can't be giving to them anymore, we are more or less useless to them. Please understand that this is a dynamic these people may not even be aware of. It's a matter of being a character flaw did they can't see or feel their behavior. Just MHO.
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yes i'm going through the same thing I gave up my job and now take care of my blind sister .I too feel sad that everyone is living but me
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I didn't mean I am grateful that people have it worse than I do, I meant I am grateful that I don't have a financial burden. I needed to clarify that.
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Yes Kazzaa, it's strange how people get. I do think sometimes that perhaps they avoid me because being a caregiver may make them have to face their own fears of getting old. I have made the mistake of always being there when my friends have needed me and now they are no where to be found. Once I am no longer caring for my mum, I will try to establish new relationships. I really only need a couple of really good friends. This has definitely been an educational, eye opening experience for me on so many levels. Reading other people's comments and situations has been very helpful for me, there are many people who have it far worse than I do, especially financially. So I am grateful for that.
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Yes its a sad thing, but the other day a friend of mine went out of her way when she saw me and my mum on the street to avoid us?? I was very hurt and have not returned her texts since I no longer consider her a friend we used to meet up every week for lunch and when I told her mum had dementia she seemed to retreat but making it so obvious in the street was very hurtful.
You say dementia and people disappear. If I do bump into her again I will be honest and tell her that Im going through the most difficult time of my life and that what I really need now are my REAL friends around me.
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Not on my question we don't.. sorry. He can start his own question.
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