Care-giving is one of the most stressful and demanding roles that a person can take on. When women become the caregivers for their husbands, they face extra challenges. Women often look to their husbands to be the head of the family and the primary source of financial support. What happens when a husband becomes physically and financially dependent on his wife?
Self-Care is Essential. Many women unexpectedly find themselves in the role of caregiver for their husbands and they worry about being able to handle the responsibility long-term. Care-giving is a difficult job, even for trained professionals. The most important thing for women to remember is the value of self-care. Taking good care of themselves puts them in a better position to provide care for their husbands. This means exercising regularly, eating three healthy meals daily, and sleeping a minimum of six hours every night. Caregivers also need to maintain social activities to support their emotional well-being. Feelings of social isolation and depression are common among caregivers, but something as simple as meeting friends once a month for brunch or telephoning a close friend once a week are beneficial for emotional wellness.
Follow a Care-giving Schedule. Serving as a caregiver without a schedule is like flying an airplane without a flight plan. Schedules provide us with order and help establish routines that make life easier. An effective schedule includes regular bedtimes, meal-times and bath-times. It should include simple leisure activities that the caregiver and spouse can participate in together, if possible. The schedule should also allow for at least a few hours of weekly personal time for the care-provider. Arrange to hire an adult-sitter or use an adult daycare facility once a week. The care-provider should use personal time to focus exclusively on her needs and wants.
Ask for support. Getting help is essential for avoiding caregiver burnout. Sometimes finding help is difficult, but there are ways to make it easy for others to help. Here are some options:
Remember that caring for your husband begins with caring for yourself..