Do not be alarmed! I am not discussing the methods to make financial arrangements for a dissolving marriage! Any person involved in home-centered elder care can verify that it affects all family members at various degrees – including spouses.
When I first ventured into my full-time caregiving role, my default setting was to take care of anyone unable to fend for themselves. Simply put, the kids, my mom and the dog got my full attention. Unfortunately, since Hubby was capable of taking care of himself, he was on the back burner at times.
While I was in the midst of my mom’s care, I could not see what was happening. Now that I have a little breathing room, I recognize this great, big “faux-pas” and offer these suggestions to prevent the same mistake from happening to you:
Keep the communication lines open. Taking care of an elderly parent is a fluid situation at best and it is vital to keep your partner in the loop. Make sure you have all elements of communication at your fingertips such as calendars, text messaging, email and tons of sticky notes!
Make “together” times a priority. It is a sad fact that long, beautiful vacations may not be in the cards for full time caregivers but you must make sure that you establish some alone time with your spouse. I was very grateful that my kidlets were old enough to “hang out” while Hubby and I could go on weekly dates. Just a simple dinner and movie moment kept us connected in the midst of our challenges.
Express gratitude often. I did not practice this as much as it was deserved, but I encourage you to keep your eyes peeled for “thankful” opportunities. Take notice when your spouse jumps in to help and maybe send an e-card to show your gratitude.
Stay focused on unity. One thing I remember from the caregiving trenches is that Hubby and I constantly reminded each other that we were partners in this activity. I am so thankful that when the going got tough, my husband often let me know that he was right there with me!
Caregiving is most definitely a team endeavor and making sure your team is fully connected and grounded is your first step to success!
How do you stay connected with your spouse while carrying out your Sandwich Generation responsibilities?