As a family caregiver, you need all the support you can get. Feeling supported reduces the risk for mental and emotional consequences such as depression, stress, and anxiety, and gives you the motivation and perseverance to work through the challenges of this care relationship.
While there are many resources to give you the support, one of the most meaningful and beneficial sources can be your partner. Relying on your partner to provide emotional support not only helps you to be a better caregiver and supports you through this care journey, but also preserves your relationship with your partner so it is strong and healthy when your care arrangement comes to an end.
Unfortunately, the stresses and busy schedules of a care relationship can make it more difficult for you to feel as connected to your partner. Looking for simple ways to keep you connected and show your love for your partner even when you are busy is valuable both for you and for them.
Try some of these simple ways to stay connected to your partner during your care experience:
- Take the time each day to spend a few minutes acknowledging each other. A hug and a kiss, saying I love you, and just sharing a few moments with each other helps to keep that connection strong and gives you a bright spot in your day. Studies have shown that physical touch such as hugs reduces stress and allows for closer relationships, more trust, and better health.
- Find times during the day to call your partner just to talk to them. The conversation does not have to be long. It’s just a way to show that you were thinking about them and to give you the boost of hearing their voice.
- Take advantage of the services of respite home care to give you time away from your care efforts. With this type of care, a care provider comes in on a temporary basis to follow your parent’s care routine and give them the assistance they need when you are not available. This can allow you to enjoy time with your partner, whether it is a date night every couple of weeks or even a few days away together.
- Avoid venting to your partner all the time. Even though you will likely want to talk about your care experience and your partner can be a great source of a listener, you don’t want every interaction with them to be you complaining about your care efforts, worrying about your care efforts, or making plans for further care. Make sure you continue talking about things you enjoy, listening to them talk about their own life, and simply enjoying fun conversations together. This gives your brain a chance to relax and also prevents relationship strain and damage that can come from your partner feeling like all you ever do is rant or complain to them.
- Make sure you were being honest with your parent about what you’re going through. It is not unusual for the partner of a family caregiver to not be aware of the extent of the problems in elderly adult is facing, or how much care their partner is giving. By being honest with your partner about this, they can be more understanding and encouraging, and also more willing to help you. This supports a greater connection between the two of you as you work together to fulfill needs and make your life better.
Taking time to yourself and focus on the other relationships that matter to you in your life is an important part of being a family caregiver. While you might want to focus completely on your senior’s needs and giving them the care they need to handle their challenges and limitations, this should not come at the sacrifice of your health, well-being, or quality of life.
Relying on respite senior care can be an exceptional way to balance both aspects of your life in an effective and meaningful way. With respite care, a senior home care services provider can be with your aging parent on a temporary basis to provide you with a time you need to handle other elements of your life.
This can be the occasional day to yourself, date night with your partner, or even a few days for a family getaway. Taking this time while still knowing your senior is safe and receiving the care they need reduces your stress, boosts your mental health, and allows you to come back refreshed and ready to give your parent all the care they need.