When you become a caregiver you think about the extra responsibilities, being an advocate and your loved one’s care. You don't think about the relationship changes and dynamics that occur.
Being the child of an aging parent often forces you into role reversal. It can be awkward, embarrassing, frustrating and very challenging at times.
I feel it was extremely challenging to have the relationship of the past, especially when caregiving calls you to be the financial manager, the healthcare manager, the safety manager and the manager of their overall well-being. Changing the dynamic of your relationship from being a daughter to a primary caregiver felt emotional and confusion.
When your spouse needs care, your relationship changes too. Your spouse is no longer your lover, partner, or your fun date. This transition can be difficult. You now miss the everyday help. You miss the companionship. You miss the conversation. You miss the intimacy.
The first thing you probably noticed are the extra tasks. Simple things like, they carried out the garbage or ran to the store or did the dishes or filled up the car. Now you have to take on more. Your focus is different. You may be in constant worry or checking on your loved one and trying to do everything you can to make them feel better.
When we begin providing care for a loved one, our relationship with that person can take on a new meaning as our role in their life changes. Whether we are their spouse, child, sibling or friend, taking on the role of managing their care or helping them cope with a disease or condition comes with unique responsibilities and relational dynamics. In some cases, caring for a loved one may make our relationship with them stronger, but in others, the stresses of caregiving may lead to increased strain which in turn can negatively impact our relationship with a loved one.
If you are experiencing a strained relationship, it starts with
Caregiving naturally affects your relationship with the person you care for. You interact in new ways. You see each other differently. And you experience unfamiliar, sometimes funny or even delightful feelings.
Approach the changes positively, with an open mind, and you might be surprised. Your relationship could become stronger and more fulfilling.
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