Being a Partner, Not a Parent, Throughout Spousal Caregiving

Follow these tips to keep your relationship strong through spousal caregiving.

Anyone in a happy, long-term relationship understands that it requires dedication, compromise, and sacrifice. The happiest relationships are the ones where both parties selflessly care for one another. This can change drastically, however, if the person you love encounters a serious health concern. And this shift can have an adverse impact on the dynamics of your relationship if you’re not careful, as you find yourself taking on spousal caregiving.

Of course, you’re willing to do everything you can for your loved one. Nonetheless, it is important to ensure you’re not losing your romantic connection in the process of spousal caregiving. Attempting to parent your spouse may cause bitterness – for you both. To keep up healthy boundaries, keep the following in mind:

  • Express your love for your partner in ways that are not connected to the care you are providing. Write love letters, provide small, thoughtful gifts, and tell the person just how much you admire specific traits you notice in them.
  • Be deliberate in creating opportunities to concentrate on your relationship apart from the illness or injury. Continue to be involved in the activities and conversations you enjoyed together before the health issue arose, altering if needed.
  • Empower your partner to stay as independent as possible. Although you undoubtedly have the best of intentions in trying to help, it is easy to cross the line into causing damage to the person’s self-esteem. Plan more time, provide adaptive tools, and step back when you can to permit the person to do whatever they’re able to for themselves.
  • Have an open, honest conversation about how the health changes are affecting you. Brainstorm approaches to find a new normal that will be fulfilling for both of you, establishing new, attainable dreams and goals together.

If this seems difficult to achieve, there are some specific steps you can take to make sure you’re keeping appropriate boundaries while navigating spousal caregiving:

  • Hold hands, offer spontaneous hugs, give a back rub or shoulder massage, etc. to stay in close physical contact apart from touch that is an essential part of care.
  • Place some favorite photos or memorabilia from prior vacations you’ve taken together in areas where you’ll see them frequently, to remind yourself of the happy times you’ve shared together.
  • Work on resolving any conflicts in a healthy way, bringing in a professional counselor for help if required.
  • Keep an active social network, both as a couple and individually. Activities you take part in with friends and family may need to be modified, but should not be eliminated altogether.

An in-home caregiver is a great way to make sure your partner has all the assistance needed, allowing you to concentrate on spending quality time together as a couple. Reach out to us at (954) 486-6440 for more information on how we can help with our elderly home care in Fort Lauderdale, FL and the nearby areas.