One of the greatest challenges family caregivers say they face when caring for an aging loved one is protecting their marriage. The scheduling demands, stress, fears and frustrations that come from being a caregiver can take a toll on relationships.
The non-caregiving spouse may feel as if they have become less important to their partner or that they are often the recipient of their spouse’s frustrations and anger. The caregiving partner may, in turn, be frustrated by what they perceive as a lack of understanding or support.
Achieving a healthy balance between caring for a loved one and maintaining a happy marriage requires patience with one another and a commitment to working together.
7 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Marriage While Caring for a Loved One
Here are a few recommendations that can help you achieve better balance this year:
- Communicate: While your spouse knows why you need to be away from your home more often, they might still feel like they are being neglected. Keep the lines of communication open by calling, emailing and texting throughout the day.
- Caregiving Free Time: When your life is consumed by the duties of caregiving, it might be easy to spend most of your day talking about the challenges. But it’s important for your health and your marriage to establish caregiving free times of day. Focus on everything else that is going on in your life and your spouse’s life.
- Take Advantage of Respite Care: Senior living communities throughout western Washington offer short-term stays to give caregivers a chance to take a break. Explore the options near you so you and your spouse can enjoy a vacation or weekend getaway.
- Express Your Gratitude: If you are feeling overwhelmed with your daily schedule and all the tasks you are trying to juggle, it might be easy to overlook the support your spouse is providing. Make a point of expressing to your spouse how much their understanding and support means to you.
- Connect with an Online Support Group: While your partner may sympathize with your caregiving frustrations, hearing the same complaints over and over can be tiresome. Especially when the two of you have less time to spend together because of your caregiver role. A better option might be to connect with an online support group of peers who are experiencing similar challenges.
- Take Advantage of Technology: Newer communication tools make it easier for you to check in on a loved one from the privacy of your own living room. It might be through the use of smart house technology installed by a local security company or something as simple as a Skype video chat. Exploring other avenues for communicating can free you up to spend more time with your spouse.
- Plan Meals Ahead of Time: Another way to express your appreciation to your spouse while keeping your loved one’s nutrition on track is to prepare and freeze meals for both of them. This will allow you to ensure that both your spouse and your older loved one have healthy meals each day.
We hope these tips will help provide ideas you can use in your everyday life. For more tips on caregiving, aging and living your best life, please visit our Forum or subscribe to our magazine.