Taking care of aging parents can be an incredibly stressful experience. It is not uncommon for it to take a heavy toll on you, your spouse, and even on your marriage. The married couple needs to strike a balance between their needs as a couple and the needs of aging parents.
Avoid the trap of overcaring, as one author puts it. This happens when well-intentioned loving people sacrifice their marriages in which they have invested years because they spent all their time and emotional energy on family caregiving responsibilities.
Below are some important tips for fostering your marriage while at the same time caring for your aging parents.
All Topics are Fair Game
Married couples should talk about everything. No topic should be taboo and holding back feelings or concerns will only lead to later fights and misunderstandings. Communicate openly and loudly. Although it may at times feel awkward, expressing your feelings and concerns about caring for the aging parent will allow each partner to distress and vent his or her frustrations in a healthy way.
Pay attention to what the other partner says. Actually try to understand his or her perspective instead of just listening to the words he or she is saying. Do not try to anticipate what he or she will say, nor try to think ahead to how you will respond. Let your partner talk freely and uninterrupted. Repeat back what he or she says to you to make sure you really do understand. You need to listen to your partner to know if he or she is on the same page about what strategies and techniques will be successful to adequately take care of an aging parent, while at the same time, addressing his or her individual needs.
Do Not Blame or Shame
Do not blame anyone for the situation. Do not become resentful of the aging parent or of your partner who may not share in some of the burdens of being a caregiver. Try to find ways to enhance your role as caregiver and get the support you need when things become too much.
Work with your partner and other family members to divide up chores and household tasks so the burden on one person is not disproportionate should the aging parent need special attention or help.
Make sure to set aside some time in your week to be alone in your physical space and in your thoughts. This act is not selfish. It is necessary to reclaim energy and push forward.
Keep the Candle Lit
Make sure you and your spouse have alone time. Do not neglect your own relationship when taking care of others. Set up a time for date night or a quiet romantic evening. Enlist help from friends, family, or a professional health care aid to take care of the aging parent so that you can have time alone without having to worry about the aging parent’s condition.
You cannot properly take care of others if you are not taking care of yourself. Sleep well, eat healthy and get plenty of exercise. You will need all the energy you have got to take care of a parent whose health is failing him or her.
Resources in Illinois
Maintaining a marriage and caring for aging parents can be difficult, and may take a toll on everyone involved. For more information or help regarding family law issues, please contact the experienced family law attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC. We serve clients in Chicago and the surrounding areas.
Whether you are going through a divorce, injured in an accident, need to file a workers' compensation claim, charged with a crime, immigrating to the United States, or need to file for bankruptcy, Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help. Our trial lawyers have over 40 years of experience helping clients throughout Northern Illinois from five offices in Lombard, Bloomindale, Naperville, St. Charles, and Chicago.
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