We’ve all heard the wedding vows: “…for better or worse, until death do us part.” Eventually for most seniors, there comes a time during their marriage when it’s necessary for one spouse to serve as a caregiver for the other. That caregiving partner oftentimes experiences stress and fatigue, and loneliness and depression are common. This can be especially true when their husband or wife’s illness is chronic like heart disease, Alzheimer’s or cancer. If you’re not careful as a caregiver, the marital happiness you once enjoyed can slip into feelings of duty, sadness and even resentment. When caring for an ill spouse, not feeling constantly overwhelmed requires taking several steps to ensure you’re able to provide the love and comfort your partner needs as you work together through life’s inevitable challenges.
Understand Your Limits
When serving as a spousal caregiver, you won’t be able to continue caring for an ill spouse if you get injured, become ill or disabled yourself. That’s why it’s so important to know your limitations. You’ll also want to establish boundaries and safeguard your own health and wellbeing. Here are some tips to help:
Set Reasonable Goals
If your partner has a chronic illness, no matter how hard you try you can’t cure it. Instead, focus on attainable daily goals that’ll show how much you love them and make them more comfortable.
For example, if your spouse recently had surgery set a goal of assisting them on a walk outside the house every day. Once that’s accomplished, savor the moment with one another and rest-assured that it was your caregiving that helped make it happen.