How to Protect Your Marriage While Caring for an Aging Parent
Sandwich generation caregiving doesn’t always refer to juggling the care of an aging parent with the needs of raising your own family. Sometimes it is a balancing act between caring for a senior parent while also keeping your marriage happy and thriving. The sadness, guilt, and frustration family caregivers experience can take a toll on a marriage.
While the noncaregiving spouse may say they understand, it’s only natural that they may become angry and frustrated by the situation. The circumstances are tough for everyone involved. Finding the right balance is vital.
Maintaining a Healthy Marriage When You Are a Caregiver
1. Set realistic expectations.
When you are caring for a senior loved one, you might not realize how much of your time is devoted to them. The list of responsibilities you take on often starts small. Over time, however, the caregiving role can become all-consuming.
While you might not want to ask friends and family for help, it is important to do so. It’s also a good idea to ask yourself if you are being realistic about how much time you need to spend at your aging family member’s home. Is it possible to cut back or use technology to monitor their well-being from your home? Doing so will give you more time at home with your partner.
2. Communicate with your partner.
When caregiving responsibilities require you to be away from home, let your partner know you are thinking of them. A text message or a quick phone call will likely be appreciated. You might also want to use video-chat services, like Skype or Facetime, and include your senior loved one in the conversation. This may give your spouse an opportunity to better understand how you are spending your time.
3. Join an online caregiver support group.
Connecting with caregiving peers who share your struggles can be a big help. Joining an online caregiver support group gives you both flexibility and anonymity. You can be honest about how difficult your days are and how emotional you are feeling. Your peers may be able to suggest ways to manage your situation better and refer you to tools they’ve found helpful.
Another advantage of connecting with a support group is that it gives you the opportunity to talk about more than caregiving with your spouse. The two of you can spend meaningful time together when you have another avenue for discussing those challenges.
4. Take advantage of respite care.
Protecting your marriage while caregiving also means taking a break to spend time with your spouse. If you don’t have someone who can care for your loved one while you enjoy time off, explore local respite care services. Assisted living communities offer this short-term care option to allow family caregivers to spend time relaxing and renewing their sense of well-being.
Let Us Help You Find Respite Care
If you are a family caregiver who needs to take a break, one of our care advisors can help you connect with a respite care program nearby. Your senior loved one will enjoy participating in the activities and events at an assisted living community, while you spend some quality time with your spouse.
Call us at 800-304-8061 to talk with a care advisor for free!
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