Caring for a spouse who’s ill is always difficult, but it’s especially trying for seniors. The emotional and mental strain that comes with caring for a sick spouse can be challenging for a senior especially when they are going through their own aging process. Fortunately, there are ways to make caring for an ill spouse a bit easier for seniors to manage. Here are five of them. 

Tip #1: Ask for help.

The most important things to remember is that it’s okay to ask family members, friends, and neighbors for help. Trying to provide care for your sick husband or wife all by yourself can lead to you having feelings of being overwhelmed, getting injured, or becoming ill yourself.

People love to be asked for help, and they’ll most often eagerly get involved if you ask. Consider asking a neighbor or adult child to help you with tasks that are physically challenging for you, like mowing and edging the yard or lifting something heavy. This will help keep you from feeling overwhelmed or chronically stressed.

Tip #2: Don’t forget to take care of yourself.

Eating, drinking, and exercising, as you usually would, can go by the wayside when you’re wrapped up with all of the tasks that come along when caring for a spouse who’s ill. It’s a dangerous position to put yourself and your spouse in if you don’t keep yourself in good health. It’s very important that you maintain your well-being in order to give quality care to your loved ones.

Keep yourself in good health by eating healthy, getting enough sleep (7-8 hours nightly), drinking plenty of water, and exercising daily (even if it’s just a 20-30 minute walk).

Tip #3: Safeguard your mental health.

Spouses caring for an ill spouse have a higher risk of experiencing anxiety and depression. Because of this, it’s imperative that you practice good mental hygiene while caring for your loved one. Make an appointment to see a counselor or therapist if you need to, or schedule a time to meet each week with a caregiver support group or trusted friend. Expressing your feelings of frustration, sadness, or difficulty coping can ensure you stay mentally healthy and at your best while caring for your spouse.

Tip #4: Choose to have a good attitude.

Caring for an aging spouse is a complicated process, but it is a continuation of the vows you exchanged the day you married each other. Seeing the care you’re giving your husband or wife as an act of love and tenderness rather than a burden will provide you with feelings of peace during some of your more difficult moments.

Choosing to maintain a positive attitude, staying happy and thankful for the remaining time with your loved one goes a long way. This helps you keep your joy, and it positively impacts the quality of care you’re able to give. If it’s challenging for you to stay positive, consider joining an online support group or seeing a therapist.

Tip #5: Find a home care agency.

Finding a quality home care agency to support and assist you can be a lifesaver. Hiring a caregiver doesn’t mean you’re relinquishing responsibility for the care of your loved one entirely. It means you want to have someone share the burden of providing care, whether through using the agency’s respite care services or having a caregiver be there for you 24/7.

Home Instead of Northern Milwaukee can give you all of the support you need to care for your spouse and yourself. Contact us today for personalized in-home senior care in Milwaukee, ​Wauwatosa, ​North Shore.

You can connect with us by completing an easy online form you’ll find on our website. We look forward to assisting your family.