A caregiver for an aging parent is a role many adult children gladly assume. Making sure the person who cared for them is now well-cared for themselves is a duty most take very seriously.
As an elder’s health declines and more assistance is required, however, the demands of the role can create a considerable amount of stress. And caregiver stress can often take a toll on relationships, including a marriage.
How Caregiving Impacts Marriages
Statistics show that most caregivers work at least part-time outside the home. 56% of employed caregivers work full-time. Many are also raising families of their own. Juggling so many responsibilities can leave you feel mentally and physically exhausted.
When you’re short on time and energy, it can be easy to take your partner for granted. While your spouse might understand the strain you are under, they still need your attention, too.
5 Ways to Protect Your Marriage While Caregiving
Here are a few steps you can take to protect your marriage when you are busy taking care of a senior loved one:
- Thank your spouse: When you are rushing from one task to another all day long, it’s easy to overlook the things your spouse is doing to keep the household running. Maybe you always did the grocery shopping before you become a caregiver and now they have assumed this role. Or perhaps your partner is handling the majority of running for the kids after school now. Take time to let them know you appreciate their support.
- Connect with a peer group: While it might seem counterintuitive to take on more when you are already struggling to keep up, connecting with peers can offer many benefits. Among them is that your fellow caregivers can likely share great insight on how they juggle caregiving with maintaining a happy marriage. An online caregiver support group might be the easiest way to connect, and the Family Caregiver Alliance is a good avenue for finding one.
- Create a support network: Family caregivers are notorious for trying to do it all alone. Even if someone offers to help, they decline it. Try to curb this tendency and begin to build your own support network. It might be by making contact with the friendly visitor program at your church or by exploring respite care options nearby. Call your local agency on aging to ask what types of support they offer to family caregivers.
- Delivery services: Sometimes it is the errands and daily tasks that can overwhelm a caregiver. Finding local service providers who deliver can help save time. Does a local grocery store offer online shopping and delivery or curbside pickup? Is there a pharmacy that will deliver prescriptions right to your loved one’s home? How about a dry cleaning service? Along these same lines is a meal delivery service. Signing up with Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, or a similar company can save time while still allowing your family to eat healthy.
- Schedule regular date nights: Scheduling a night out with your spouse once or twice a month should be a priority. Put the dates on your calendar early in the month and resolve to stick with it. Reserving the time on your schedule can help keep you on track.
Visit a Five Star Community Near You
If the challenges of caregiving are getting to be too much, a senior living community might be an ideal solution. The best way to learn more is by visiting in person. Call the Five Star Senior Living community nearest you to set up a time for a private tour!