Reduce Caregiver Stress by
Staying Connected to Your Love One
A few years ago I heard a man speak at an event sponsored by AARP. He was talking about caring for his wife who has MS. One day as he was he helping her onto the toilet, she looked up and him and angrily hissed, “Stop it!”
He said, “Stop what?”
She said, “Stop being my caregiver!”
His response was, “How in the hell am I supposed to do that?”
She said, “I don’t know, but I’m sick of you just being my caregiver. I want you to be my husband!”
They fought a little bit. They both cried, and then they sat down and talked about how they could make that happen.
They decided that once a month they would hire a non-medical care provider to come to the house and help her bathe, get dressed up and ready for an evening out. He would ring the doorbell at 6:00 o’clock, and they would go someplace nice for dinner. Talk of anything related to her illness or incapacity was strictly forbidden. They discovered that having a date night once a month gave them something to look forward to, and it helped them stay connected to one another as man and wife.
It isn’t easy to stay connected to someone whose physical and/or mental abilities have been severely altered because of an illness or injury. Your relationship will never be the same, but if it was a good one, you’ll be able to find something you can do together that reminds you of why you loved your care receiver in the first place. Even if it’s only once a month, putting your loved one’s condition on the back burner and doing something that helps you stay connected as people. It could reduce your caregiver stress and end up being a gift of great value to both you and your care receiver.
Elaine K Sanchez is an author, speaker and co-founder of CaregiverHelp.com. Contact her at Elaine@EKSanchez.com.