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The Best Ways to Support a Caregiving Spouse

CaregiverCouple_pexels-shukhrat-umarov-1534633Photo credit Shukhrat Umarov

When people get married, they quickly learn that they have made a commitment to more than one person. Essentially you marry your spouse’s whole family. Sometimes in-laws are a wonderful addition. Other times, they can be a challenge or a source of tension in a marriage. Regardless of the nature of your relationship with your spouse’s family, as your in-laws age, it is likely that more and more responsibility for their well-being will creep into your lives. As your husband or wife takes on the role of family caregiver, they will need your emotional support at the very least.

Ideally, you and your spouse are part of a team of family members working together to support both sets of aging parents and sharing the joys and sorrows of family caregiving. Unfortunately, families don’t always run like a well-oiled machine, especially when a loved one’s health is in jeopardy and emotions are running high. Keeping relationships intact while caregiving can be a serious challenge, which is why it is so important for friends, siblings, and spouses to support one another throughout this journey.

Most people have never provided care for an aging or ill loved one before, so it can be difficult to know how to truly help someone who is in this role. These tips can guide you through unfamiliar territory with your spouse and in-laws. 

Do Your Research: Learning about the medical issues and care tasks your spouse is dealing with will be beneficial for everyone. This fundamental information will make you an excellent sounding board when dilemmas arise and care decisions must be made. Being knowledgeable about the situation means that you can offer constructive and well-informed suggestions instead of mere speculation. Your spouse should absolutely put in the effort to learn about these topics as well, but two heads are better than one. Even if you are very close with the family member he or she is caring for, it is likely that you bring some degree of objectivity to the table, which is very valuable when emotions are running high. Taking the time to educate yourself...

Continue reading on Agingcare for more discussion about how someone can help their caregiving spouse:

Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories.“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.” ...Craig William Dayton, Film Composer

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