Caregiving For A Spouse 2pgs
Caregiving for a Spouse
Changing roles in the marriage
When one partner in a marriage becomes ill, the relationship between
couple changes. Knowing what to expect can help ease that change
make it less traumatic.
Both partners can expect to go through transitions not only in roles,
emotional states. Consider what it would feel like to no longer
be able to
do the tasks that define your role in your marriage. For instance,
husband who was once the bill-payer, plumber, and garbage remover
becomes ill, he may no longer be the "man of the house" who provides
both physical and emotional strength for his wife. Taking it one
step further, how he might feel if he suddenly needed his wife's
help with even the most basic personal hygiene tasks?
At the same time, how might this man's wife feel as caregiver? She
these new tasks while also dealing with her husband's grief over
and its consequences. She may feel that since she's healthy she
has to be
"the strong one," even though she may be experiencing her
In addition, both partners may begin to have feelings of helplessness,
of dignity, and loss of identity. Both may find themselves grieving
of the way the relationship used to be. This is a difficult transition
spouses and could lead to depression.
Building and maintaining a good relationship
When one person becomes dependent on another, the existing relationship
changes and becomes more difficult, so all caregiver relationships
require a lot of work.
Counseling sessions, family consultants, and any other type of proactive, constructive communication may help build a strong foundation
in the household.
To maintain a good relationship, it is important to consider
the following issues:
Loss of independence
someone loses part or all of their independence, it can be very embarrassing, infuriating, and/or depressing. The caregiver
needs to be patient and understanding of the pHD's feelings.
becomes dependent on one person, the caregiver can become overwhelmed and experience an array of emotions resulting from stress
or burn out. It is important for the caregiver to have means of relaxation or venting to maintain his/her sanity.
Learning new skills
Outside of the emotional considerations, new tasks, responsibilities,
and routines must be learned to accommodate both the caregiver and the pHD. This transition takes patience, communication
and a lot of give-and-take.
It is important
to regularly take time alone to give the caregiver and the pHD a break away from each other. Be sure that the caregiver has a reliable support system so that when the relationship gets tough, each member can have some breathing room. The caregiver may consider including others in the care of their loved one. Examples of alternate caregivers
include friends, other family members, adult day cares, and respite care.
The caregiver and the pHD need to be aware of and prepare for changes
so that they both may deal with them effectively. Keeping the lines of communication open and being understanding are crucial
factors to the maintenance of a working relationship.