Tips to Help Navigate the Role of a Spousal Caregiver

Caregiving can be a gift to those who need it, and it can be a natural part of the progression of a person’s life as they age.  It can look like a lot of different things including caregiving from a professional or a spouse. Spousal caregiving is when a spouse acts as a caregiver for a dependent spouse. Acting as a caregiver can lead to a shift in the dynamics between the married partners. This shift can blur the lines between loving spouse and acting caregiver; therefore it is important to differentiate the sharing of the joy of living and the surviving the daily care tasks. Spousal caregivers must recognize how to compartmentalize their duty as a caregiver as well as a partner in a relationship.

Boundaries in Caregiving

Enforcing appropriate boundaries as a spousal caregiver can be complex but necessary. Without boundaries and laid out expectations, caregiving can lead to burnouts and frustration.  and the spouse can sometimes feel the passion and camaraderie decreasing from the relationship, which can lead to resentment. To negate these issues arising, spousal caregivers must learn to enforce strict boundaries, including making time for activities outside of caregiving to ensure the preservation of the love of the marriage. Time should be set aside each day to enjoy each other’s company outside of caregiving duties – quality time like calling family, visiting with friends, and discussing precious memories. Similar to this designated quality time, there should be scheduled time for caregiving tasks that should be handled as efficiently as possible without lingering on concerns outside their control. If these boundaries are difficult to achieve, then hiring a home care worker can be a needed relief as they are able to handle the caregiving duties so that the spouse can achieve quality time with their married partner without the pressure of duty.

Seek Support

While caregivers are treated like heroes for their dedication to their craft, especially adult children caregivers who are highly praised, often spousal caregivers are undervalued. Spousal caregivers are frequently taken for granted, and their effort goes without notice or praise because of their marriage commitment. However, their tireless effort that is done without complaint can be exhausting both physically and emotionally. Therefore, spousal caregivers should seek similar support in other spousal caregiver support groups. The ‘Well Spouse Association’ is a national organization that aims to support spousal caregivers in North America.

Being a spousal caregiver can bring you closer than ever with your beloved spouse, however, it can also drive you apart if appropriate boundaries are not maintained. While not all families have a choice in their role as being a spousal caregiver, those who do have the means may find it brings relief to their routine to hire a home care worker. A home care worker is a valuable member of your family team who can support you and your specific circumstances. Whether it is part-time, full-time, or night-time caregiving, there is a home care worker available to meet your needs. And when your needs are met, you can take time to focus on enjoying your twilight years with the love of your life.

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