For many caregivers, they are of similar age to the person they are caring for. It’s especially true when a husband or wife suddenly finds themselves in the caregiving role.
While on some levels we expect to be there and provide all our loved one needs, what we don’t anticipate is how suddenly we can feel overwhelmed by the life in front of us.
As a spouse or partner, you are probably of similar age. You may have arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes, or another chronic condition that brings about its own challenges. And before you know it, caregiving and self-care suddenly begin competing for your time.
And we all know which one usually wins.
How can you balance your own needs with the growing demands of your spouse?
In many ways, it’s no different than how you lived in the past. It’s a matter of simply making the time for the two of you. Ensuring each of your needs are met, given the time and priority they deserve.
Stay current with medical advice
When you’re suddenly faced with demanding caregiving needs, you can get overwhelmed with doctors visits as you try new things. Instead of prioritizing your spouse’s visits, add yours in too. Do you both see a primary care physician in the same building? See if you can coordinate your office visits for around the same time. Would your loved one benefit from acupuncture? Schedule two appointments while you’re at it. Just because you’re busy with your loved one’s needs doesn’t mean you have to forego your own medical care. Find ways to incorporate the two together .. then enjoy lunch out together before you head for home.
Learn more about your conditions
In many cases, your condition can worsen as you take on more responsibilities for your loved one. What worsens the symptoms? What impacts the way you feel? Do you know everything you can about your own conditions? While you may be in learning mode for your spouse’s conditions, don’t forget your own. Learn what you can do to keep the symptoms at bay. For instance, if you have osteoporosis, you are dealing with weakening bones. Putting undue stress on them by lifting and moving your spouse can cause fractures and breaks, which will impact both of your lives. Learn all you can about how it impacts you; a quick search online can provide you with resources and guidance ready to help you through.
Be kind to yourself
Always remind your spouse that it’s still the two of you, working together. Tell them when you don’t feel well. Apologize if you can’t perform at your normal level, and need more time to complete everyday tasks. It’s always been the two of you, now is no different. Remember, you can’t give one hundred percent if you aren’t feeling it yourself. Take the time you need to energize and recharge your system. It’s the only way you can stay on top of things, and ensure top health for the both of you.
Caregiving is a journey, not a destination. It’s an act of practicing kindness and providing simple joys along the way. Stay as healthy as you can; you’ll both have more to give.