Overcoming The Challenges Of Being A Spousal Caregiver

Original publishing date: July 10, 2014
Publisher: AARP (American Association of Retired Persons)
Author: Barry J Jacobs

“The more the caregivers give and the more the ill spouses take, the more likely it is that the latter will increasingly identify themselves as patients who require all the attention.” 

Caregivers make a lot of sacrifices for their loved ones but feel that they receive nothing in return. This is very much evident in spousal caregiving. The article gives an example of a wife, the caregiver for her husband who suffers from Parkinson’s disease. She complains that no matter how hard she works to care for him, he doesn’t appreciate her efforts.

“Caregiving often changes the dynamics between partners — from sharing the joys of living and planning a brighter future to merely surviving the numbing drudgery of daily care tasks.” 

A lot of marriages tend to suffer because of spousal caregiving because it leads to imbalanced relationships. This can cause resentment where the caregiver may feel that their loved one is selfish. They can also get depressed and be socially isolated. The caregiver must realize that reducing physical and mental pressure can improve caregiving as well as keep the relationship healthy. The article suggests 3 ideas a spousal caregiver can practice to minimize tension and reduce misunderstandings.

“In seeking social and emotional support, therefore, spousal caregivers should be selective, seeking out others who have had similar experiences and who will be more effective supporters.”

The caregiver must learn to separate their role of a caregiver from their role of being a spouse. It is important to set a time where both partners can talk about non-medical issues. Seeking emotional support from other caregivers who have similar experiences or joining a support group of a disease-specific organisation will help the caregiver have an informed approach. Most importantly, one must tell the ill partner to not just receive but also give. Tell them that little things like appreciation, gratitude or just listening can improve their relationship.

Click here to read more: https://www.aarp.org/caregiving/life-balance/info-2017/spouses-marriage-stress-bjj.html


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