God created us in His image, and He is a relational being. When we read the creation story in the book of Genesis, we learn that Adam was created to be in fellowship with God. Still, Adam wasn’t complete until God created Eve to be Adam’s human companion. From this perspective
God reveals that He wants us to be in a relationship first with Him and then with other people. We can never be our best selves alone, so we need to build friendships with those around us to fully thrive and become all that God intended for us to be.
For many family caregivers, relationships with family and friends are hard to hold together on a caregiving schedule. Taking time to meet a friend for coffee, lunch, or a movie can feel like a futile effort when you spend all day caring for an aging family member. Nurturing relationships requires time, focus, and energy. If you can’t step away for a quick hour here or there, how can you strengthen friendships or deepen family ties with anyone other than your aging loved one? When all of your energy is spent caring for someone, you have nothing left for friends or family members at the end of the day.
This relationship desert leaves most family caregivers feeling lonely and forgotten by those who shared their lives before they entered this season of caregiving. Many family caregivers struggle to overcome depression because of their isolation and lack of a social support system. If you feel like you are suffering from depression, the Alzheimer’s Association has some useful resources. One of their suggestions involves tapping into your friendship network, but if you don’t have this, then it’s not there when you need it!
I think you know what you have to do next…make time to nurture your supportive relationships. How do you go about this? Begin by listing all the reasons why you don’t have time; then attack your list with the mission of eliminating some of your obstacles. If you get stuck, ask a friend, your spouse, or another family member to give you a hand. Or reach out below and ask a question. There’s a whole world of experience all around you that would be eager to help you find time to nurture relationships with others who can share your burden and expand your capacity to care. It’s just up to you to resolve to make it happen.
Chris and I hope you’ll join us this week here at Heart of the Caregiver and share your heart about nurturing relationships even when you are a family caregiver.