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How to Be a Good, Caring Son or Daughter and Keep a Healthy Marriage

An elderly parent holding the hand of her daughter

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman


July 20, 2020

If you’re currently in a situation where you’re providing care to an elderly parent, you’re not alone.
Over 40 million people are providing unpaid elderly care in the United States. Many of these people have families themselves and might be struggling to find a proper balance. If you’re in this situation, you might find yourself choosing between your spouse and your parents.

One of the biggest challenges is trying to make a marriage work, despite the time commitment required for the caregiving of an aging parent. After all, maintaining a marriage is a full-time job in itself. Adding on more obligations can lead to problems with your spouse, or guilt that you’re not doing enough for your elderly parent.

Trying to do it all is nearly impossible, and that’s completely normal. While you may love your parent, keeping a healthy marriage is also an important part of your life. You shouldn’t need to choose one or the other in order to keep things running smoothly.

Managing the stress and responsibilities of elderly care isn’t easy, but it’s definitely possible. Read on for our guide on caring for an elderly parent while maintaining a healthy marriage.

Maintaining Open Communication for a Healthy Marriage

One of the most important things for a healthy marriage is open and candid communication. This is especially important when you’re trying to be a caregiver while still giving your spouse the attention they deserve.

Bottling up your thoughts and emotions can dissolve a healthy marriage and take a huge toll on your mental health. Plus, if your spouse feels like they can’t express their thoughts to you, then they’ll be equally unhappy in the partnership.

To make sure everyone stays happy, be sure you’re nurturing the communication aspect of your relationship. Be honest with your spouse if you are stressed or upset. If you feel like you’re taking on too much, communicate that to them as well.

Staying Organized

When you’re caregiving for an elderly parent, you’re taking on a lot. Trying to balance this with your other responsibilities can be a lot for anyone to handle. Plus, remembering it all can be impossible.

To make sure you stay on top of things, come up with ways to stay organized. Writing things down is helpful and can ensure you remember everything you’ve been asked to do.

For example, if you’ve got an errand to run, a bill to pay, or a meal to plan, write it down. Keeping a checklist will ensure you take care of your responsibilities for your spouse before you get wrapped up in the needs of your elderly parent. This will help you keep up a healthy marriage without neglecting your caregiving obligations.

Managing Stress

Roughly a third of the people providing elderly care would describe the situation as stressful. When you’re trying to maintain a healthy marriage on top of it, it becomes even more of a burden. There are many ways to preserve marriage, and stress is a key determining factor.

Stress is extremely unhealthy, both for you and your marriage. If you’re constantly stressed, then you won’t be the version of yourself that your spouse deserves. Stress can make you irritable and depressed, leading you to hurt your spouse’s feelings or make them feel like you don’t care.

This is why it’s important to find your own ways to manage stress. Take time to do activities you enjoy, such as exercising, reading, or going for a walk. Remember not to neglect yourself, even though you’re taking on a lot.

Setting Healthy Boundaries

If your elderly parent is being too demanding, you have to learn where to draw the line. You can only do so much, and you’ve got your own life to worry about.

Rather than taking on an unhealthy amount of responsibilities, let your elderly parent know your boundaries. If you’re wondering how to care for an elderly parent in your home, seek out the help of an in-home care provider to keep everyone happy. Caring for an aging parent in your home is possible, with the help of an in-home caregiver. That way, your parent will get the care they need and you can focus on your life again.

Prioritizing Your Spouse

As much as you love your parents, it’s important to put your spouse first. You’ve chosen them to spend your life with, and you should prioritize your healthy marriage first and foremost.

This doesn’t mean you need to choose between your elderly parent and your spouse. Even when things seem hard, it’s still possible to do what’s best for both of them. You don’t have to take on elderly care all on your own; you have options to ease the burden and start focusing on your own life.

An Elderly Parent is Ruining My Marriage: Now What?

If you’re still struggling to keep up with elderly care while maintaining a healthy marriage, don’t be hard on yourself. You can only do so much. Trying to do it all can take a huge toll on your life as well as your mental health.

When caregiving for elderly parents becomes too much, it’s vital to seek help. This will allow you to keep your marriage while still ensuring that your parent gets the assistance they need.

For starters, consider any other family members who can temporarily take over for a week or so. That way, you can take a vacation with your spouse and work on maintaining your healthy marriage. Even if this isn’t possible, finding someone to look after your elderly parents for even a weekend can make a huge difference.

In addition to that, adding an in-home care provider can ease a lot of the day-to-day burdens that come with caregiving for elderly parents. They can provide a variety of services that free up your time, including feeding, dressing, grooming, hygiene, toileting, and assisting with exercise. This can help out when you’re trying to do what’s best for your elderly parent while still maintaining a healthy marriage with your spouse.

Caregiving While Maintaining a Healthy Marriage

One of the most important things to remember is this: you shouldn’t take everything on yourself. You also don’t have to choose between your elderly parent and your spouse.

An in-home care provider can help you with the daily care of your elderly parent while still allowing them to remain in your household. Now that you know more about managing elderly care while maintaining a healthy marriage, seek the help you need today.

Whether you’re looking for at-home personal care or companionship services, we have you covered. Contact us today. Our phone lines are open 24/7, and we’d love to help you find the right care for your loved one.