Sunday, November 29, 2015

Is Your Sweetie Contributing to the Craziness?

One of the greatest stressors and stress-creators in caregiving is when the caregiver has a spouse/significant other who, even if they aren’t helping on a day-to-day basis, is emotionally removed from the situation. 

It’s wonderfully romantic and dramatic to believe they’ll be with you every step of the way, but for most couples, that’s not realistic. In some cases the spouse removes himself/herself from the situation, but you should understand that the attitude is seldom mean-spirited. Because we’re dealing with human beings with a whole range of issues there is an endless list of reasons why significant others abdicate responsibility.

On the other hand, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen caregivers (here’s a sexist comment…most often it’s women) who, again, for a whole list of reasons, shut their significant other out…and then get stressed and angry when the other person is not a mindreader and just knows what needs to be done.

The absolute best suggestions for getting the other person involved or, at least, getting them on the same page, comes from the AARP. They recommend the caregiver initiate a conversation in which these issues are addressed:

“What role do you expect him or her to play? Suggest specific ways your spouse can help, and show appreciation for his or her efforts. Recognize that your responsibilities affect your spouse, and encourage him or her to talk about any frustrations. Your relationship is a priority — keep it that way.”

Check the links in the Resources section of this site for connections to the AARP.

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