Taking care of an ill husband or wife is difficult at any age, but it’s even harder on the elderly. Seniors caring for an ill spouse oftentimes have their own physical limitations to contend with, and the added emotional and mental strain that come with caregiving can push an aging caregiver to the breaking point. Many older adults who are caring for an ill spouse are also too proud to ask for help, which then places the health and wellbeing of both parties at risk. To help ensure that doesn’t happen to you, use these caregiving tips from the experts.
Know Your Limitations
If you’re disabled, injured or ill, it’s going to be that much harder to provide quality care to a spouse. Understand your physical limitations, and don’t try to push your body through those. For example, if you suffer from chronic back pain don’t attempt to lift your loved one out of bed without some type of assistance, whether it’s from another person or a patient lift.
Keep a Positive Attitude
Your spouse already probably feels guilty because you’re helping them. Don’t exacerbate their negative thoughts by making them feel like a burden. Remember your marriage vows and consider your care an act of love and tenderness that they would no doubt do for you if the tables were turned. If your spouse has a long-term illness and you’re struggling to stay in a positive mood, join a caregiver support group or speak to a licensed counselor or religious leader.
Take Care of Yourself
In addition to the physical demands, many seniors who are caring for an ill spouse develop anxiety and depression. To keep both your body and mind strong, follow this approach:
- Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep daily, even if that means napping while your spouse is asleep.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat a healthy diet filled with essential vitamins and nutrients.
- Don’t abuse alcohol or drugs.
- Make sure to take your medications as prescribed.
- Drink plenty of water and other fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Get a complete physical at least annually.
If you’re having trouble dealing with some negative emotions that crop up while caregiving, speak to a licensed therapist or clergy member about your feelings.
Share the Responsibilities
Many seniors who are caring for a sick husband or wife don’t like to ask for assistance when there is a plethora of good resources available that can help make the process much more manageable, such as:
- Their adult children or grandchildren
- Trustworthy neighbors and friends
- Volunteers from their church
- Meal delivery services like Meals on Wheels, Mom’s Meals or MealPro
- Adult daycare programs
- Local Agency on Aging
- Senior transportation services
In the end, splitting up some of the caregiving responsibilities instead of taking them all upon yourself will help ensure a higher quality of life of both you and your partner.
Hire a Professional In-Home Caregiver
Hiring a professional caregiver doesn’t require you to relinquish control over your spouse’s care. It simply means that you will be sharing the caregiving workload with someone else. In-home caregivers are highly trained to assist you with daily activities around the home, including helping your spouse bathe and get dressed, catching you up on laundry, or performing other important tasks like transportation, cleaning and cooking. When screening potential caregivers, find someone who’s licensed and insured with a personality that meshes with your spouse’s.
Compassionate Caregivers for that Special Senior in Your Life
Taking care of an ill spouse is a labor of love, but it can also be overwhelming at times. When you need a hand, contact Charter Home Health. As a fully licensed and insured home care provider, our carefully screened and highly trained aides will provide the compassionate care your loved one needs so that the two of you can continue aging comfortably in place right where you want to be. Our full menu of senior-trusted in-home services includes light housework, meals, food shopping, personal hygiene, medication reminders, transportation and companionship.
And, all our home care services can be individually personalized into an affordable package that won’t break your budget! To learn more about Charter Home Health, or to schedule a FREE, in-home screening interview with one of our compassionate caregivers now, please call or visit us online today.