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Caring and social isolation

PoppyBPoppyB Posts: 228 Trailblazer
Hey everyone :)

I've recently become involved in The Mix's Young Carers Awareness project - we are working with Carers UK to raise awareness of Young Carers and Young Adult Carers through the discussion boards and you may have already seen some posts covering other topics around this subject. 

A young carer (under 18 years old) and a young adult carer (18-25 years old) is someone that providers care for another person, including friends and family members.   

This week's topic is around caring and dealing with social isolation. 

My mum has struggled with addiction since before I was born, but I have been caring for her since I was around 10 years old, by assisting my dad with cooking, cleaning, shopping etc as well as giving my mum lots of emotional support. Over the years, my caring role has become more full-on as I became older and my siblings moved away. 

My caring responsibilities have always increased at the weekend as I have more free time. However, while I was at school, this meant that I had to keep cancel plans to visit friends and eventually I stopped being invited to events which made me feel very isolated, leading to poor mental health. Even now, as a young adult carer, I can still struggle to balance full-time work, studying, caring and seeing my friends but I had found some helpful ways to break the cycle. 
  • The coping strategy that had the greatest impact was to tell people instead of struggling alone. I am lucky to have supportive friends who understood my priorities as a young carer and are flexible around my needs. 
  • I also was honest with my dad about feeling cut off from my friends and this led to us creating a 'rota system' of sorts, making sure we both had a reasonable balance between caring and socialising - we also planned any time away from home well in advance so that we were always prepared in case a crisis occurred. 
  • I found it quite difficult to find support on my own and there is definitely a need for more publicity about what is available. However, I offhandedly mentioned being a carer to my GP during a checkup and they showed me local resources such as a carer's group. Finding people that understood what I was going through was a huge help and I made some great friends there. 

Over to you....We would love to hear if you (or someone you know) have any tips for dealing with social isolation as a carer?


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    coc0maccoc0mac Posts: 1,054 Wise Owl
    I haven't personally been in this position so I don't have any tips to add, but I did want to say what a great thread this is! Thank you for sharing your story and advice - I'm sure it will be very helpful to many :heart:
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    Han93Han93 Posts: 309 The Mix Regular
    Hey @PoppyB

    I haven't been in this position either so don't have any personal experience but I have found this on Mind's website: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/helping-someone-else/carers-friends-family-coping-support/looking-after-yourself/#.XdvA4W52tPY

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us <3
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    PoppyBPoppyB Posts: 228 Trailblazer
    Thank you @coc0mac <3

    That's a brilliant resource @Han93 !
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    BubblesGoesBooBubblesGoesBoo Posts: 3,590 Community Veteran
    Love this thread!

    im the same as you, telling people was SO helpful,  and its actually brought me closer to my friends, like when they invite me out for coffee/food, they invite my mam aswell so I can still keep an eye on her and its brilliant for her depression aswell :) they also check in on my mam when im away in Aberdeen for a break and seeing friends, they'll pop over and give her her meds and makes sure she eats and spends an hour or 2 just chatting to her so shes not alone :) they've been a godsend! 

    another thing that helped was talking to my mam, explaining that I was feeling a bit cut off, she spoke to my dad and for one night a month my dad will come down and keep an eye on her while I go out with friends :)

    basically just telling people how you're feeling can be a great help, you cant care for someone else if your not looking after yourself as well! (well you can, but it just makes things worse and more detrimental) 

    ' So I put a bullet where I shouda put a helmet, and I crash my car cause I wanna get carried away, that's why I'm standing on the overpass screaming at myself 'hey, I wanna get better''  
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    Millie2787Millie2787 Community Champion Posts: 5,146 Part of The Furniture
    Growing up I learnt that I had to grow up very quickly and even if I wanted to hang out with friends of my age I was often to emotionally mature so I would find them quite immature.

    The one thing I found that helped was getting assessed to join our local Young carers charity because through them I met friends and is attucally where I met my boyfriend. Knowing that we all had something in common just makes it easier to make friends.

    Telling someone when things are tough really helped to . I know that I have a few friends and the Key workers to talk to , there always happy to answer the phone when they have 5 minutes and if we’re lucky there take us for a maccies 😂
    Sometimes all you need is one person to believe in you , for you to begin to believe in yourself.
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