We’ve talked about the many issues that caregivers are confronted with on a daily basis, and loneliness is near the top of that list. While it’s true that caregiving can get pretty lonely, luckily, the Internet is here to help. There’s no easier and instant way to get to know new friends, share your thoughts, concerns and ideas and vent your frustrations than the social media.
Twitter, Facebook, even Instagram — all these worldwide platforms offer space for everybody, to talk and learn about anything. It makes the loneliness disappear, or at least feel less overwhelming, at no cost and without the need to leave your home.
As appealing and advantageous as joining an online caregiver community seems, there are some things that need to be said first. No matter if you’re an active contributor or just got the idea in your head to look for fellow caregivers on social media, read through my tips that will make your online experience safer and more enjoyable.
Manners on Social Media
The lack of manners on social media is apparent, especially recently. People can quickly go too far to insult or lie about others, and it’s not just the domain of internet trolls anymore, but “regular” people do this, too.
- Be careful about how much of your and your loved one’s story you decide to share with the world.
- Are you posting to share and seek help for your loved one, or to draw attention to yourself and your good deeds?
- Surround yourself with people who make you feel good and appreciated.
- Avoid sharing names and unapproved photos of your elderly relative without consulting them first.
- Remember that each group may have different settings – if you join an open Facebook group, everyone from your friends list can see what you post.
- Don’t let yourself be drawn into fights and made-up conflicts online. It’s wasted energy, and only results in an even bigger feeling of frustration and isolation.
Security on Social Media
Everyone who’s posting on social media should be following these basic security rules, regardless of their age or occupation. We have to realize that the internet is a public place that anyone can access, and we never know who’s reading what we wrote, once it’s out there. This is especially true for caregivers, who are often not only speaking of themselves, and tend to discuss very personal matters.
- Don’t share personal information with strangers, especially if they ask for them specifically. Chances are they are scammers going after your money.
- When posting about your location, do it once you’ve left the place. The same goes for photos.
- Don’t hire someone you’ve met online without getting at least some independent and reliable references first. Best case scenario, only hire people you or your friends know.
- Protect your and your family’s privacy by adjusting your privacy settings on social media and avoid using real names, addresses or any other personal info.
- Don’t just trust any medical tip or information you find online. Always use a reliable source and consult the facts with a specialist.
Maintaining good manners and making sure you’re keeping your own and your loved one’s privacy safe are the two main pillars of online presence. Remember: online communities for caregivers can be a great way to socialize, find people with common interests, feelings and experiences, and bring some happiness and company into the sometimes so lonely life. That’s a fact. But unless you protect your privacy and are respectful and nice to others, the internet can turn into a very unpleasant and sometimes even dangerous place.