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What does long-term isolation do to a person? - Carers UK Forum

What does long-term isolation do to a person?

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
If someone has been isolated for a long time, they don't have any friends. What effects would this have on a person? Where would this lead to?

Your opinions or experiences please?
I joined a couple of forums - this one and a craft one. Then I can join in when it's convenient. The only problem is often my convenient time is not always everyone else's such as at 4 in the morning. It also means I don't have to make promises I can't always fulfil.

If there weren't the forums I think I really would go mad. Like Sunday when I had a rock-bottom day. As a result I have made some really good friends who I can message daily, and even pick up the phone and speak to them!

I've never really had work-friends, work colleagues I occasionally socialised with was fine, but long term friend, then no. I'm single, and they had partners, we were spread over a fairly wide area, and with some of them - jings I spend every day with them, why would I want to spend leisure time with them as well.
I guess it's whether it's by choice or not. Some people go off as hermits to think and make sense of life, the universe and everything. Others are isolated by the situation they're in...and that's the dangerous one!
When my partner died i chose to isolate myself.I moved to our holiday home on a farm near Bewdley,only saw people at work or when i chose to visit family,and withdrew as much as i could from normal life.Result........i began to develop anxieties about society,not wanting to be in crowded places,became paranoid,dwelt on the bitterness i felt towards the world.Took out my anger on the tv,i would shout at people on the tv i didn`t like or agree with.Then i met a friend at work who wasn`t afraid to point out what a prat i had become.I sought counselling,which was fantastic.He explained that i hadn`t been through the grieving process properly,that i should face my fears and live again.This i did.Result......i met a new girlfriend,which didn`t last that long but did me a power of good,i got my sense of humour back,and socialised again,enjoying peoples company again.Having been through that i was already aware of the risk of isolation when i decided to care for my parents,and have been able to see friends occasionally as well as making new ones here on the Forum.Isolation is a dangerous thing.Humans are a social animal,left to our own devices we can be our own worst enemy.
We have become more isolated as our sons disability has worsened. Even had one ex friend say that it made her son feel sick to look at my son. And she expected us still to remain friends!! Other friends dropped us like a hot potato (seemed to be after Robert had his spinal surgery at age 13). One said her son liked to go and play golf and Rob couldn't go "as his wheelchair might damage the golf course". My circle of friends is my husband, myself and our son (also my mum and brother and my mother and father in law) - thats all we have to rely on - each other and no-one else. That is just the way it is. Still do our best to have a bit of fun though. Went to the Science centre in Glasgow last week - went to the Imax theatre to see a 3D movie and then to the Planetarium for a lecture on the transit of Venus and then to the Bishopton Inn for a lovely meal. All thanks to the £100 my father in law sent us.

It's chicken and egg, isnt it:
"If someone has been isolated for a long time, they don't have any friends"
well yes, and contrariwise:
If someone doesn't have any friends, they become isolated for a long time"

The answer is glaringly obvious: Caring is not a healthy basis for a social life, we all need to try to sustain other interests and hobbies outside of caring, including employment, however hard this is. In the course of the last year, most of my successes as a carer have not been down to 1:1 activities I do with him, most of them have been securing the services of paid and voluntary support services for my son in areas such as adult literacy and sports lessons, work placement support, and peer support. I'm not so much as a carer, as a care manager, these days, I always try to delegate. This last month my son has used services from at least twenty or thirty different agencies. And when I say services, I include everyday things like a restaurant, shop, library or public swimming pool. All of them provide opportunities to increase independence and living skills as well as generating rich social opportunities. Today I didn't order lunch for my son: I gave him the cash to get his own sausage roll from the bakers and found an excuse to nip down to the cashpoint so that he could have the opportunity of learning to order and pay for it himself, its all these little things.

Socially speaking, as for carees, so for carers, there is no substitute for joining something local, a bowling club, amdram, the Womens Institute, the local twin-town association: anything that brings contact with other people. Virtual friendships aren't usually worth the electrons they are written on.
I must admit that for a long time I was fairly isolated and it started getting me down, friends rarely visit these days and I started to get nervous if I had to go out.

It was only recently I realised what I was missing out on.

With the written support and encouragement from virtual friend on this forum I braved up and went out for a meal with the Carers group.

Since then I have tried to get out when I can, and feel better for it
It is incrediably difficult for some carers to have any form of life outside caring due to the amount of caring they do. However, i do think it is very important that carers do get out & do something for themselves whenever responsibilities or finances allow.
I am aware that our local Carers support has funding to pay for a sitting service for carees for the carer to go out to something related to their caring - for example the carers drop-in. This is non means tested & not reliant on other services. So it may be worth contacting your local carers support service to see if there is any money out there for you.

I am lucky as I currently have a good social life both with my husband & separately. I volunteer, attend a bookgroup & play in a local sports league. I am also making friends through the carers group & we are starting to socialise as couples. My husband likes me to go out & do things - not least because he likes the peace & quiet! It won't always be easy to do as his condition deteriorates but we shall enjoy it while we can.
Regrettably the carers sitting service will only "sit" with the person. They won't give medication nor will they put the person onto their ventilator for example. Those of us with more strenous caring responsibilities (who, it could be argued, need a break more) cannot therefore take advantage of this service.

I also certainly would not want to use any beak I had to go to a carers drop in thank you very much. Been there, done that. Do not want to listen to a lot of other folks one upmanship of who has got it worse. I want to forget about caring for a while not be in among it all.

I know what you mean Eun, but there are often ways around the problem. I sometimes like to do (or have to do) shared activities with J, so for example yesterday I took him to his adult swim class at the local pool and whilst he took a lesson, I was getting in my twenty or thirty lengths on the other side of the pool. It doesnt have to be one thing or the other, there often is a middle way. Cost of the class? A few quid per lesson, and thats refunded by his direct payment anyway, whilst I get half-price entry on the Access scheme for carers, coming in at under £2. You know, there are some really good supports here in North Lanarkshire, maybe you should move over!