Managing Your Marriage While Caring For Aging Parents: 5 Survival Steps

Author: Bethany Gillis
Published: Aug 29 2013

Caring for aging parents

Caring for an elderly loved one can be a beautiful experience that helps the two of you bond like never before, but it can also be incredibly stressful, sad and hard on your marriage. If you're both a spouse and the child of an aging parent, then you need to figure out a balanced way to nurture both relationships at once.

1. Hire an In-Home Caregiver

There comes a time when you need to stop and realize that you can't do this all on your own. If your loved one needs constant supervision or requires help bathing or going to the restroom, you may want to consider the help of home care services. This will allow you to have more time to do the things that you need to get done, reducing your stress levels and making you a better partner.

2. Ask For Help From Your Spouse

If you decide to provide care without the help of a hired professional, you need to realize that it's okay to ask for help from other loved ones, including your spouse. Dealing with an aging loved one is hard, and your spouse may want very deeply to help you but may not be sure how. Being direct about what type of support you need will make it easier to communicate to each other.

3. Take Care of Your Bodies

If you're under a large amount of stress, it's important to do extra work to keep yourself healthy. If you don't already do so, consider starting a morning jogging routine with your spouse. It will help you both stay fit, keep your energy levels up and also give you a few minutes alone to talk. Also, it's important to get adequate sleep and eat a good diet. Try cooking healthy meals for the whole family to enjoy.

4. Make Time For Romance

While you're dealing with an aging loved one, it's easy for romance to move down on your list of priorities. Keeping romance and alone time with your spouse high on your priority list doesn't make you selfish, it makes you responsible. Your spouse is the person who will be there with you through everything, including the death of your aging loved one at some point in the future. Nourish the connection you share by making time for dinner, a movie or just some simple alone time with your spouse.

5. Spend Time in Therapy

If you've been arguing or otherwise having problems because of the stress that your aging loved one has brought into your world, consider seeing a couples therapist. Being caught in such a difficult situation can wreak havoc on your marriage, and a qualified therapist may be able to see things that the two of you can't. There is never any shame in reaching out for professional help if you feel it may benefit you.

Nothing will make caring for an elderly loved one any easier, but if you maintain a strong marriage throughout the process, you will always have a shoulder to cry on and a supportive listening ear. As long as you make the right moves along the way, caring for your loved one can be an experience that bonds you and your spouse together instead of driving you apart.

Bethany Gillis has seen firsthand the strain on relationships caused by the caring of aging loved ones. She offers these tips in hopes that couples will gain insight into managing the balance of their relationships. She highly recommends the use of home care services or, at the very least, reaching out to family and friends for help when needed.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zoetnet/5376802024/

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