Staying Happily Married while Caring for Aging Parents
People are living longer. Which means that many couples today are caring for an aging parent or loved one who lives with them.
This is a blessing for everyone involved, but over time it can become a source of profound stress.
If this situation is stressing your marriage, then you need to find marriage help before the overwhelming pressure damages all of the relationships involved. Here are some suggestions for your consideration:
Sometimes all you really need to deal with this potentially damaging situation is the opportunity to talk about it in a safe, confidential environment.
Marriage therapy can be particularly helpful when one spouse feels that he or she is shouldering most of the burden.
A marriage counselor can do a number of things:
- Listen while you unload and get everything out.
- Offer suggestions on creating appropriate boundaries and expectations for everyone involved, including between you and your spouse, and the loved one for whom you are caring.
- Make your spouse aware of how much you are doing in order to enlist his or her help.
It would be a very good idea for you and your spouse to find a marriage counselor if you currently care for a loved one or expect to assume such responsibilities soon.
Connect With Other Couples
You are not alone in this situation. Many other couples are taking care of their elderly loved ones, too. Connecting with them can be a wonderful source of support that eases your stress.
Just having an encouraging person to talk to is all the help you really need sometimes.
As the health of your loved one fails, you will face important decisions. Having a support group will help you through these emotionally trying times.
Find a local support group for your own emotional health and strength and information on knowing what to do in certain situations.
Divine Wisdom & Strength
There is no better place to find strength than in God. Jesus invites us to bring our cares and concerns to him so that he can lighten our burdens. He knows your heart and the worries that overwhelm you; so share everything with him.
Opening your home to an aging loved one can be a tremendous blessing because it keeps them from spending their remaining years in an adult care facility. What you are doing is wonderful and noble…but expect to encounter challenges along the way.
Some of these challenges will be:
- A more complicated living arrangement
- Increased household chores and responsibilities
- Integrating and including the loved one into your family culture in a way that makes him or her feel that that they are not a third wheel or a burden
Stress will mount and frustrations will arise. Here are additional things you can do to cope and that will help your marriage:
1) Be intentional about scheduling time for just you and your spouse to relax and enjoy each other.
It is quite possible that there are adult day care services in your town that can take care of your loved one so you and your spouse can have a break.
2) Assisted care
Caring for the health needs of an aging parent can be overwhelming. Look into finding a home health care agency that can ease the burden for you and your spouse. This will help your marriage.
3) Organizations or clubs for seniors
There are organizations that exist to help fill the golden years with joy. They offer activities and opportunities for friendships to be made – and transportation if needed. Some will even take your loved one to the store or market.
Helping your loved one have a sense of independence not only helps and makes them feel better, it also helps your marriage because it frees up time for you and your spouse to spend together.
Caring for an aging loved one can be overwhelming and stressful for your marriage. But please know that marriage help is available. So find the marriage help that you need to maintain a healthy relationship and to always be mad about about marriage no matter what.