Helping and taking care of an ill spouse is not just physically challenging, but also mentally and emotionally exhausting. If you are a senior, taking care of an ill spouse can be especially difficult. Looking after someone who has a demanding condition can take its toll on you. However, there are some ways that you can help take care of an ill spouse without doing everything yourself or taking every responsibility into your own hands.
- Find a Home Care Agency or a Referral Service: Have a caregiver assist you in taking care of your husband or wife. As an added bonus, they can also help you do some chores. Taking care of an ailing husband or wife is not just about giving them medication on time, but also looking after them, making sure they are eating and sleeping properly, assisting them with showering themselves, and visiting the doctor regularly. Apart from those fairly strenuous tasks, there are other chores around the house like laundry, cooking meals, and more. Expecting one person (who more than likely is over 60) to do all this and take care of their spouse can be stressful and time consuming. Contacting a referral service or a home care agency to find a caregiver can ease some of the burdens of caring for a sick spouse and give you back some time to yourself.
- Do it yourself: I work with a senior who has had to look after her husband as he recovers from a major surgery. In her situation, it has been very tough because it required her to push and carry heavy objects like a wheelchair. My best advice I could give individuals who fall into this category is to give yourself more time to do difficult chores and be very careful not to try and lift objects that are beyond your strength, which could lead to injury. If you have a son, daughter, or friend that may be able to help you, it is better to wait for help – and to not be afraid to ask for help.
- Senior residences: For people who are very sick and can no longer stay at home, senior homes can be a good option. If your husband’s or wife’s illness is progressing and you no longer have the ability or capacity to take care of them, then maybe it is time to find a care facility where your spouse can get intensive around-the-clock service. In case of emergencies, the medical staff is readily available, 24/7. The separation from your spouse can be hard, but it’s important to think about the most suitable solution for both of you. Senior residences allow visitation so that families can spend time together.
Sickness can happen to anyone. Sometimes it is sudden and inexplicable. In cases of a lengthy illness, it can be an ordeal not only for the individual, but for the family caretaker, too. The main thing is to make your spouse as comfortable as they can be and not to compromise your own health.
About the Author: Eric Daw is an active aging specialist and the owner of Omni Fitt. Omni Fitt is dedicated to the wellbeing, health and quality of life of people aged 55 and over in Toronto. Eric motivates and empowers the older adult population to take responsibility for their independence, health and fitness through motivating and positive coaching experiences.