Caring for an aging parent can be more stressful than anyone can imagine. Full-time caregiving comes with an increased risk for health problems, depression, and substance abuse. Understandably, caregiving can take a serious toll on a caregiver’s marriage and relationship with family members.
It’s easy for keeping up the effort to maintain a strong marriage to fall by the wayside when life gets too hectic. While this is normal, neglecting a relationship over the long-term can result in irreparable damage. Every couple can use a refresher on keeping their marriage strong while being a caregiver for a loved one.
Seven Tips For Nurturing Your Relationship While Caregiving
Understanding that a marriage can be strained because of caregiving is essential, and it’s equally important to take proactive measures to keep your marriage strong. Here are seven tips for you to do that.
1. Don’t Avoid Discussing Conflict
Sometimes, when you feel stressed, it seems like there’s never time to talk about your feelings, which results in you keeping them bottled up inside until they boil over. Timing is important when tackling thorny subjects, but avoid putting off crucial conversations.
Between meal prep, taking your loved one to the doctor, and caring for all of their other needs, it’s “next week” before you know it. If you’re struggling with finding the right time to talk with your spouse, make a standing appointment to have a visit. This helps ensure that you communicate regularly and avoid blow-ups.
2. Be A Proactive Listener
When you’re talking with your spouse, make sure you’re not the one doing all of the talking and avoid interrupting your spouse. Be sure to actively listen to what they’re saying. It can help your understanding if you repeat back what you heard them say in your own words to make sure there’s no confusion or misinterpretation.
3. Don’t Cast Blame
Casting blame can be very destructive to a relationship. During a rough patch, there’s a natural tendency to blame those that are closest to you. But the truth is, there’s usually no single person to blame for the situation. When it comes to caregiving, the job fell to you when it came time to care for an aging parent. Instead of casting blame, find ways to work as a team with your spouse to improve your situation.
4. Practice Teamwork
The teamwork concept that meant so much to you when you first married is now more important than ever. It applies to the rest of your family as well.
If you have kids that are old enough, let them do chores around the house. Everyone should contribute and help pick up the slack. The more help that you have, the easier it will be to have free time for other tasks, especially to spend time with your spouse.
5. Build A Support Network
You and your spouse don’t have to tackle the challenge of caregiving on your own. Solicit support from your family and friends. Join a caregivers support group at your church or in your community. Consider hiring professional assistance. You needn’t be shy about reaching out for help; you can’t do it alone. Getting help can take a lot of strain off your marriage.
6. Stay Healthy Personally
Taking much needed steps for preserving your physical and mental health is vital for providing quality care to an aging parent and keeping your marriage strong. Exercise as often as possible, eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, and don’t forget your annual doctor’s appointments. Keep your stress in check and take some time for yourself when you can.
7. Keep The Flame Alive
Make time for romance and fun together a top priority. Carve out time for a date night, or even a long walk together. Bring in back-up if needed to care for your loved one while you’re making this investment of time in your marriage. If friends or family can’t help, seek respite from professional caregivers, even if it’s for just a couple of hours now and then.
Let Us Help
At Home Instead, our mission is lifting the spirits of those we serve by offering them dependable and affordable home care options. To learn more about Home Instead Senior Care or to schedule a FREE consultation for a senior in Naples, Fort Myers, Charlotte County, or the surrounding areas today, please visit us at www.homeinsteadswfl.com.