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Caring can be lonely at times but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Talking to other carers and friends can be useful and we offer advice on where to turn if you need more help.

On this page we give you information about:

1. Tackling loneliness
2. Coping with anxiety and depression

Tackling loneliness

Caring for someone is a big responsibility and can take up a lot of your time. You might even often feel lonely, and cut off from the outside world. If you're starting to feel lonely because of your caring responsibilities, it can often help to talk to people close to you, or those in a similar situation.

  • Socialise: take time to visit other friends and family, if you can. If you can’t meet in person, a long chat on the phone is a good second best.
  • Meet other carers: even if you have friends and family around you, they may not understand what it’s like to be a carer. If you want to chat to others in the same situation, contact Carers UK which offers an advice line and online forums for carers. If you’re caring for someone with dementia, you may find it useful to talk to other dementia carers through the Alzheimer’s Society online forum.

We all feel down from time to time, but sometimes the loneliness and isolation of caring can turn into something more serious that needs to be addressed. If you find that talking to other people isn't helping you cope with the situation, it can be a sign that you need additional support.

If you think you, or someone else you know, might be depressed it’s important to get help.

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Coping with anxiety and depression

Being a carer can be worrying and stressful at times. Whether you’re responsible for someone 24/7, or struggling to juggle work and your own family life with caring responsibilities, caring for someone close to you is tough. On top of all that, it can be very upsetting to see a loved one going through a difficult time.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, anxious or depressed, it’s important to take action. Telling someone how you feel is the first step to feeling better.

  • Visit your GP: tell your GP that you are a carer and discuss the impact this could be having on your health. Depending on your needs, your GP can point you to medication or counselling that can help.
  • Seek counselling: ask your GP to refer you to a counsellor or look one up yourself. Talking to a trained professional can help you put things in perspective, find better ways to cope with your situation and identify positive ways to improve your thinking.
  • Get information and advice: the charity Depression Alliance offers useful help and advice. It also runs Friends in Need, a supportive community for people living with depression.
  • Carer's assessment: if you haven’t had a carer’s assessment, consider getting one. This can be a route to counselling or other support. It can also help you to access respite care, to give you a break when things are particularly tough.

More information

  • Tackling loneliness: our guide to help older people find companionship.
  • Talking about care options: read our advice on how to discuss care with your friend or relative.
  • Respite care: there might be times when you need to take some time away from your caring responsibilities, read more in our guide.

Page last reviewed: July 2017
Next review due: January 2020