How to Navigate the Balancing Act of Being a Caregiver For a Spouse

a caring affectionate senior couple
Learn how to effectively balance the role of being a caregiver for a spouse.

If you are in a successful, lasting relationship, you know that it requires compromise, commitment, and sacrifice. The happiest relationships are those where both parties selflessly care for one another. This balance shifts, however, if the individual you love encounters a significant health concern. And this shift can have a devastating impact on the dynamics of your relationship if you are not careful, as you find yourself balancing the role of being a caregiver and a spouse.

Naturally, you want to do whatever you can for your spouse in the role of their caregiver. However, it is crucial that you ensure you’re not losing your spousal relationship along the way. Too much caregiving can result in resentment – for you both. To maintain healthy boundaries, keep the following in mind:

  • Be deliberate in creating opportunities to focus on your relationship aside from the illness or injury. Continue to be involved in the activities and conversations you enjoyed together before the health issue arose, modifying as required.
  • Have an open, honest discussion regarding how the health changes are affecting you. Brainstorm techniques to find a new normal that will be fulfilling for both of you, setting new, attainable goals and dreams together. 
  • Convey your love for your partner in ways that have nothing at all to do with the care you’re providing. Write love letters, provide simple, thoughtful gifts, tell the person just how much you admire specific qualities you observe in them.
  • Empower your partner to stay as independent as possible. Although you undoubtedly have the best of intentions in wanting to help, it is very easy to cross the line into causing damage to the person’s self-esteem. Plan more time, provide adaptive tools, and step back when you can to permit the person to do whatever they’re able to for themselves.

If all of this seems easier said than done, there are specific things you can do to ensure you’re maintaining appropriate boundaries in your role as caregiver for a partner:

  • Place some favorite photos or memorabilia from previous vacations you’ve taken in places where you’ll see them often, to remind yourself of the good times you’ve shared together.
  • Hold hands, offer spontaneous hugs, give a back rub or shoulder massage, etc. to stay in close physical contact outside of touch that is a required part of care.
  • Keep an active social network, both as a couple and individually. Activities you take part in with friends and family may need to be modified, but should never be eliminated altogether. 
  • Work on resolving any conflicts in a healthy way, bringing in a professional counselor for help if required.

An at-home caregiver is a great option to ensure your partner has all the help and support needed, letting you focus on spending quality time together as a couple. Reach out to us at 213-383-2273 to learn more about how we can help with assisted home care in Los Angeles and throughout our full service area.