September 6, 2022

Happy senior couple embracing each other

Spousal caregiving can be a challenge to navigate, but these tips can help.

If you’re in a successful, lasting relationship, you know that it calls for compromise, commitment, and sacrifice. The happiest relationships are those in which both parties selflessly look after each other. This balance shifts, however, if the individual you love experiences a significant health concern and one of you steps into the role of spousal caregiving. And this shift can have an adverse effect on the dynamics of your relationship if you are not vigilant, as you find yourself in the role of care provider.

Naturally, you want to do everything you can for your loved one. However, it’s important to ensure you are not sacrificing your romantic connection along the way. Attempting to parent your partner can lead to bitterness – for both of you. Our experts in help at home in St. Louis and nearby areas, recommend keep the following in mind in order to maintain healthy boundaries:

  • Enable your spouse to stay as independent as possible. Although you undoubtedly have the best of intentions in attempting to help, it’s not difficult to cross the line into causing damage to the person’s self-esteem. Plan additional time, incorporate adaptive tools, and step back when you can to allow the person to do whatever they’re able to for themselves.
  • Be deliberate in creating opportunities to concentrate on your relationship independent of the injury or illness. Continue to participate in the activities and conversations you enjoyed together before the health issue arose, modifying as necessary.
  • Express your love for your partner in ways that have nothing at all to do with the care you’re providing. Write love letters, provide small, thoughtful gifts, and tell the person how much you admire specific qualities you observe in them.
  • Have an open, honest conversation regarding how the health changes are affecting you. Brainstorm techniques to find a new normal which will be fulfilling for both of you, establishing new, attainable dreams and goals together.

If all of this seems easier in theory, there are a few specific steps you can take to make sure you’re keeping appropriate boundaries in your role as caregiver for your partner:

  • Place some favorite photos or memorabilia from past vacations you’ve taken in areas where you’ll see them regularly, to remind yourself of the good times you’ve shared.
  • Offer hugs, hold hands, give a back rub or shoulder massage, etc. to stay in close physical contact outside of touch that is an essential part of care.
  • Keep an active social network, both as a couple and individually. Activities you engage in with friends and family might need to be modified, but should not be eliminated altogether.
  • Work on resolving any conflicts in a healthier way, bringing in a professional counselor for help if needed.

An at-home caregiver is a perfect way to ensure your partner has all the assistance needed, allowing you to prioritize spending quality time together as a couple. Contact Continuum, a provider of help at home in St. Louis and the surrounding areas, at (314) 863-9912 or (636) 861-3336 for more information on exactly how we can help.