Taking care of an old parent can be very stressful. But you need to do so, as what the professional caregivers are doing. In fact, full-time caregivers are at risk of suffering from depression, medical issues, and drug abuse. It is only logical that the effort they put can have an impact on how they relate with some of their relatives and loved ones.
Some of the principles of maintaining a healthy marriage are very obvious, but it is easy for one to forget about them when life becomes hard. This is normal to a certain extent, but not focusing on your relationship for a prolonged period can lead to irreversible damages. All couples should refresh their relationships regularly, specifically those that have to care for their old parents. Here are some critical tips for improving your marriage while caregiving.
1. Avoid Procrastinating.
At times when you are stressed up, it becomes hard to speak about your emotions, and you might decide to keep them bottled up. However, these emotions might explode later after being forgone for a long time. It is essential to know when to bring up these tricky discussions, but do not put them off completely.
You could have several doctor’s appointments to take your parents this week, but your kids could get sick in the coming week. Before you are aware of it, “next week” never reaches. If you find it hard to point out the ideal time to make these conversations, put a standing appointment when you and your partner check on each other. It might look stupid, but it will help you to communicate frequently and avoid blow-ups.
2. All topics are viable.
People who are married should talk about anything. Trust your partner. Speak about whatever bothers you and let your partner do it as well without judging them. All the topics are important, be it the bad, ugly, or good.
3. Listen carefully.
When you are talking to your partner, ensure that you are not the only one talking, and do not interrupt them when they are giving their views. Always listen to what they have to say carefully. At times, it is good to repeat what they say in your own words to ensure that you got the message.
4. Do Not Sink in self-pity
You will never solve any issue by feeling sorry for getting yourself into that situation. The adage states: happiness emanates from viewing the glass as half full rather than half empty. Hover, this is easier said than done. It takes a significant effort to look at what is going through your mind and shift that negative tone into a positive one. Repeated negativity can suck the energy and fun out of any relationship. Doing exercises, reading self-help books, and therapy can allow you to enhance your mindset and learn how to shift your feelings to a positive side rather than negative.
Read More: What is Respect in Relationships?
5. Don’t blame others.
Blaming your partner can be very damaging. When times become tough, there is a normal tendency to start blaming the people close to you, but the truth is that no one is to blame for that scenario. When giving care, someone has to step up and care for these parents, and the onus fell on you. Rather than wasting time blaming others, look for ways of combining efforts with your partner and others to ensure that you handle the situation in the best way possible.
6. Work as a team.
When you were courting your partner, it appeared like it was you against the world. You looked out for each other. Keep in mind how you vowed to help each other through the good and bad. This teamwork idea should be applied more than ever, and it should hold for the other family members as well. If your children are old enough to handle some of the duties, make sure they do them diligently. Every family member should do something and help to address the slack that happens frequently.
7. Afford each other space.
Everyone needs their own time. Give yourself some time alone to think freely and refresh your spirit and let your partner do the same. If you cannot find time to get out of the house, spend some time alone while at home. Man caves have become widespread for a good reason. Take advantage of the office, den, bathtub, or even basement and convert it into your retreat. You need to make sure that you are well before you can care for others, and this comes in handy for your relationship with your partner and parent.
8. Do not lose the spark.
Go out and have some fun and romance with your spouse and prioritize this. Couples should shoulder the burden of hard times together, but it is also necessary to forget about your problems and enjoy each other’s company. Make some time for a date night, a long walk, or just a couple of minutes lying in bed before you wake up. If your old parent’s requirements make it hard to get this time, find some backup. If your friends and family members cannot come in handy, look for a professional caregiver even if they are doing it for a couple of hours.
9. Simplify everything.
Simple love gestures play a significant role in any marriage. Strive to do a small act of love each day. Prepare your partner’s best lunch, compliment them, appreciate something they did, and let them know how much you care for them. It will take some effort to make this a habit, but the rewards are well worth it.
10. Find help.
You and your partner should not handle caregiving alone. Get help from your family members and friends. Ask for support from neighbors. Ponder the idea of getting professional help. Do not be afraid to seek advice as you cannot handle it on your own.
11. Stay healthy.
Ensure that you observe your mental and physical health when giving care to your elderly parents. Try and engage in exercises often, eat the right food, maintain your stress levels, and do not forget about the annual visit to the doctors. If you become sick, who will take care of your parents?
Remember that any change in a long family pattern can be hard for people to adjust to. It will take some time to adapt to the new lifestyle and be open to changes that will help you get it right. Do not forget that you, your spouse, and children should be the utmost priority when giving care.
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