Family Caregiving and Your Marriage

Posted on January 31, 2022

Marriage is tough enough. When the married couple work and have children, you may have a tsunami brewing. And take care of your relationship before the rushing, overwhelming water hits is vital! And if you have a member in a family who needs care, it's the beginning of the perfect storm.

The caregiving responsibility for a family member's well-being is significant, especially as they enter life's last stages.

But marriage is also a significant relationship and must be prioritized, or the result could have lasting effects.

Here are some ways for effective communication that you can use prior to and in times when you are faced with a family caregiving situation or when your marriage needs a more precise communication channel:

Five Speaking & Listening Tips for Effective Communication

Think of H.E.A.L before responding:

  • H—Will what I say be helpful or hurtful?
  • E—Gently express your feelings and use the five senses or share a mutual memory;
  • A—If you do not understand, ask a question and keep asking until YOUR partner believes you understand;
  • L—Listen and keep listening. Tell me more if you need more info.

Strategies to Ease Caregiving Duties

Caring for an elderly parent on top of the many other day-to-day work, family, and financial responsibilities can be challenging. Simplify tasks to benefit everyone involved by making sure that:

  • Caregivers have some time for them
  • The elderly parent's needs are met with as little confusion
  •  and interruption as possible
  • Everyone knows their role in the caregiving process

Identify needs

As your loved ones' get older, you need to keep a watch on their ability to manage the tasks of independent living. Can Mom or Dad move about at home? Can they drive around? Are they well connected with a network of friends who provide needed companionship and support? Some parents may sound like they are doing well when you talk to them on the phone, but you might uncover some surprising issues on a visit to their homes.

Establish support contacts

Simplifying caregiving means taking advantage of support groups for you and your elderly loved one. The government's ElderCare Locator website is an excellent directory of eldercare services available in one's local community. Also, contact other family members, home health care, religious or community organizations,  friends and neighbors, medical personnel, and agencies such as Meals on Wheels and transport providers to develop a care circle to provide support. Geriatric care managers are also great resources for help.

Make the most of visits

Even if you live near your aging parents, it's nearly impossible to spend as much time with them as you might like. But, to maximize your time together, there are many things you can do. Make sure that your visits include connecting with friends, neighbors, and healthcare providers to gather information about how your loved one is doing. This will help you make decisions about managing the care of your aging parent.

Moving a loved one Into your home

Removing an aging parent from their home and into their own home can be confusing and stressful for everyone involved. It's essential to determine if your home is the right environment for the individual and whether you and your family are prepared to take on the full-time demands of caregiving.

Caring for a loved one in a facility

Placing a parent or aging relative into a care facility is a big decision. And although doing so eases much of the burden of caring for the day-to-day needs of an elder, you still need to take an active role in caregiving. It's essential to network with the people who provide care for your aging relative to make sure that all of their needs are being met.