About Writing, Life and Writing About Life

I’ve just got back from visiting my Dad. He is a full time carer for my stepmother, who has dementia. Now I already know just how hard that is, but my Dad has so far seemed to cope incredibly well. He has a strong faith, a pretty stoic attitude to life and support from his stepchildren, who come over regularly to spend time with their mother while he goes out walking or to various church activities. But when I arrived Dad seemed really low.
I guess it didn’t help that almost straight away I noticed a slow leak – just one more thing wrong with the house and needing to be fixed. This is where the limits of his coping show – he manages day to day abd is gradually taking over running the househol. But he can’t cope with the things which go wrong with the house.
It seemed to me that by the time I left Dad was at least a little more positive. Partly this was due to getting some practical things done (including fixing the leak), but my belief is that it is also to do with tackling his isolation. Being a carer is extremely isolating, and the people who do best are those who either have or build strong connections with others.
I have also come across other people lately who feel very isolated – that they are unable to connect with anyone. And it seems that feeling connected is a very strong need for us as human beings. So today I wanted to think about building connections. Because I don’t think that feeling of connection happens by accident. It takes effort to build it.
We live in a world where we can build connections if we choose. We can do it online, but also in the physical world. There are groups for all kinds of interests – including carer support groups, if my Dad was prepared to join one. It can be hard to join these groups, especially when we are feeling isolated and alone. So my best suggestion is to build some connections when things are ok so that they will already be there in difficult times. I believe the best way to build deep connections is by joining in with the intention of giving to others – even if it’s only a kind word. This is how I have tried to approach the healing practice group I attend on a Monday night. Yes, I gain a lot from going along – but the whole premise of the group is also giving and sharing.
I would also like to say at this point – hurray for the internet. For those who are online, it can be a great way to tackle isolation, as you can see from dipping into any active forum, like the Alzheimers society’s Talking Point. For my Dad, I will do my best to keep the connection with him, visiting as often as I can manage and keeping in touch on the phone.


Comments on: "Thought for the week – Building Connections" (2)

  1. Just wanted to offer you some support. My Mum has been full-time carer for my Dad, who developed dementia a couple of years ago. It is unbelievably tough and those connections are absolutely crucial.

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