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How to Provide Care for Your Spouse

By Lee Nyberg, 9:00 am on

Caring for an elderly spouse presents unique challenges and unique rewards. Spouses know each other better than anyone, which can reduce the initial discomfort or embarrassment of caregiving. However, this situation can also become stressful, and aging caregivers can burn out quickly. Here are a few ways seniors can provide care for their elderly spouses. 

Maintain Your Connection

One of the main benefits of providing care for an elderly spouse is familiarity. You know your spouse’s needs and preferences. While a hired caregiver could undoubtedly provide excellent care, he or she wouldn’t be able to emulate the decades-old bond spouses have with each other. When new issues arise, spouses can always count on each other to have their best interests at heart. Make sure the connection with your spouse doesn’t recede into the background. This connection can help you get through the most challenging aspects of your role. 

Hire a professional caregiver if you need assistance caring for an elderly spouse or a break from your caregiving duties. Lincoln home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

Attend to Your Own Needs

While a hired caregiver often leaves at the end of the day, spousal caregivers often spend all day at home, which can lead to social isolation and burnout. To maintain your emotional and mental health, get out of the house every so often. A weekly support group, yoga class, or meal with friends can clear your head and lower your stress levels. 

Delegate Responsibilities

When seniors become caregivers to their spouses, they often take on too many responsibilities. Asking for aid may feel like concession of defeat. If your role becomes too difficult, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family members, or hire a respite caregiver. Many spousal caregivers feel guilty if they don’t perform all the caregiving tasks themselves. If you feel a sense of guilt encroaching, remember all the hard work you do and feel pride in your efforts. 

It’s natural to want to be your loved one’s source of care, but to protect yourself from burnout you may need additional help. In Lincoln, NE, respite care is a great help to many families. Caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times, which puts family caregivers at risk for burnout. However, an in-home caregiver can take over your loved one’s care, allowing you the time you need to focus on your own health, maintain a full-time job, or care for other members of your family.

Keep Up with Your Own Health

It’s common for seniors caring for their spouses to neglect their own health. However, maintaining good health is essential. In case of an airplane emergency, people are always advised to put on their oxygen mask before they assist others. This golden rule applies to senior caregivers as well. Before you can help your spouse, you have to tend to your own health. If you find you’re skipping doctor’s appointments, losing sleep, feeling down, or taking up unhealthy hobbies, take a step back and reevaluate your approach to caregiving. Caregiver burnout could have a negative effect on your health. To maintain good health, spousal caregivers should make sure they follow a healthy lifestyle regimen that includes nutritious meals and regular exercise.

If your caregiving duties are becoming overwhelming, consider hiring a professional caregiver. In Lincoln, Nebraska, home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. Call us at (402) 261-5158 to learn about our premier in-home care plans.