Caregiving & Isolation

Caregiving Three months ago, my husband had a stroke. Doctors told us we were lucky it was not worse: he could speak, find words, and only needed to learn to walk and use his left arm again. The process of rehabilitation began, and I was so proud of him for his motivation and how hard he worked.
But I realized that I was struggling with feelings that had little to do with his stroke specifically and more to do with how it had impacted our life as a couple, as well as my life individually. I limited my psychology practice for a couple of months to advocate for him, it was hard to deal with getting his wheelchair in and out of the car, he was often exhausted and did not want to do things despite being bored at home. But most surprisingly, some friends that I counted on disappeared from our lives.
I was prepared for the paperwork with insurance companies and the difficulty of dealing with his physical disabilities, but I had been completely unprepared for what felt like social isolation. I no longer had the stimulation of a full work schedule and found myself feeling trapped at home. He had physical therapy, occupational therapy, and pool therapy. I was the silent observer. And I certainly didn’t feel that I could complain. After all, he was the one who had suffered the stroke. I was just the spouse, advocate, and caregiver.
In a recent New York Times article by Paula Span,…/caregiving-alzheimers-isolation.h… I discovered that I was not alone in my feelings of isolation. The title “Caregiving is Hard Enough. Now Add Isolation” really hit home and the article helped me realize that I had to take steps to push myself to get out, be with other people, and take care of myself, not only physically, but emotionally. Whether you are a caregiver for someone with a stroke, dementia, cancer, aging parent or for some other reason, remember that you have to care for yourself as well.