How to Protect Your Marriage When You are a Caregiver

August 13, 2018

Sandwich generation

Caregiving can take a toll on a married couple in the Sandwich generation. These tips can help you protect your marriage while you are busy caring for a senior loved one.

Family caregivers say that one of the greatest challenges they face while caring for a parent or other senior loved one is protecting their own marriage. “Sandwich generation” caregivers juggle many different roles—daughter, mother, wife, employee, and more—so it can be a tough balancing act.

The stress, fear, and frustration that caregivers encounter can take a real toll on a marriage. A non-caregiving partner may understand their spouse is struggling, but that doesn’t prevent them from feeling as if their needs are important. A spouse might also be on the receiving end of misplaced anger and frustration simply because a caregiver doesn’t know how to cope with the rollercoaster of emotions they are experiencing.

Finding a healthy balance is vital for a caregiver to protect their marriage.

5 Tips to Help Caregivers Maintain a Healthy Marriage

Here are a few tips you might find helpful:

  1. Connect with a support group: One of the first steps you can take is to connect with a support group. Some caregivers find an online support group works best for their schedule. Connecting with peers can help you find a healthy outlet for sharing your caregiving struggles. That takes your spouse off the hot seat and allows the two of you to talk about matters other than the ups and downs of caregiving.
  2. Communicate: While caregiving likely requires you to be away from home a lot, make sure your spouse knows you are thinking of them. Leave notes for them to find around the house, send text messages, and take advantage of video chat programs and platforms to stay in touch.
  3. Express appreciation: Even if your spouse doesn’t complain about your caregiving duties, they might still resent them or feel neglected. It’s important to tell them how much you appreciate their support. Don’t take for granted that they know you are grateful. Tell them.
  4. Take time out: Caregiving is emotionally and physically exhausting. Health experts recommend family caregivers take regular breaks and schedule nights out with their spouse. If you don’t have a sibling or other trusted friend who can care for your loved one while you take time off, consider using respite services. Assisted living communities—including the Legacy Senior Living communities—offer this short-term care option to provide family caregivers with an opportunity to recharge.
  5. Set realistic expectations: Family caregivers often worry about how good of a job they are doing caring for their loved one. It can lead them to overcompensate and do too much. Ask yourself if the tasks that are consuming your time are really necessary. Are there places where you can cut back? Or can you use technology, like FaceTime or Skype, to check in virtually? Try to set realistic expectations for yourself.

If a senior loved one’s care is getting to be too much to manage at home, Legacy Senior Living can help. Our award-winning communities are located throughout the south. Call the community nearest you today to schedule a time for a private tour!