Leesburg Senior Home Care Blog

How Can You Establish Limits When Your Spouse Relies Solely on You?

By Kaltoon Essa

Being married is a wonderful thing, but it’s going to bring along plenty of challenges. As an elderly couple continues to age, they will likely face a number of challenges as they move through their late 60s, 70s, and hopefully into their 80s. When you’ve been married for a long time and your aging spouse suddenly has difficulty, even with some of the most basic tasks of everyday life, you may very well become his or her primary caregiver.

You might not see yourself as a caregiver, but if you are helping them get around, get dressed, take a shower, are doing more of the household chores and tasks that had once been theirs, and so forth, that’s essentially what you are.

As a caregiver to your spouse, in order to at least minimize or limit stress and how it affects you, you need to establish certain limits. Some married men and women don’t fully comprehend the importance or viability of limits, especially for somebody they vowed to “love and honor in sickness and in health ‘til death do us part.”

What happens if you can no longer do this?

Every person has limitations. They have limits on their time, their energy, their mental capacity, their physical strength, and much more. If we don’t acknowledge our limits, we run a greater risk of exceeding them, which ultimately puts ourselves and possibly people around us, including strangers, at unnecessary risk.

For example, if you’ve been scraping by on just a couple of hours of sleep a night for weeks on end, what’s going to happen if you slip behind the wheel of an automobile at midnight, cruise down on dark, winding road, and you’re completely exhausted? Even if you’re alone in that car you might very well be putting somebody else on the road at risk.

So how do you establish limits with a spouse?

It’s really no different than if you’re a caregiver for an aging parent, disabled adult child, friend, or even a stranger and this was your primary job. You need to be clear on what your limitations are.

Figure out how much you can honestly do for your spouse without any help. Talk about the stress you experience as his or her caregiver. Finally, realize that help is just a phone call away to a local home care agency.

Even though you think this is your sole responsibility, it is not. In fact, many married couples, when they discover the benefits of an experienced home care aide, wonder how they ever got along without it.

If you are considering caregivers in Sterling, VA, for an elderly loved one, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers Home Care in Leesburg. (703) 297-4642.