Being a Partner, Not a Parent, Throughout Spousal Caregiving

happy affectionate senior couple
Affection and honesty can help couples preserve their relationship through spousal caregiving.


If you are in a successful, lasting relationship, you realize that it calls for commitment, compromise, and sacrifice. The happiest relationships are the ones where both parties selflessly take care of one another. This balance shifts, however, if the individual you love experiences a significant health concern. And this shift can have a devastating impact on the dynamics of your relationship if you’re not careful, as you find yourself taking on the tasks of spousal caregiving.

Naturally, you want to do everything you can for your loved one. Nonetheless, it is vital that you ensure you are not sacrificing your romantic connection along the way. Trying to parent your partner can result in bitterness – for the two of you. In order to maintain healthy boundaries, Golden Harmony, a leading provider of home care in Raleigh and nearby areas, encourages you to keep the following in mind:

  • Have an honest, open discussion regarding how the health changes are affecting you. Brainstorm ways to find a new normal that will be fulfilling for both of you, setting new, attainable dreams and goals together.
  • Show your love for your partner in ways that have nothing at all to do with the care you’re providing. Write love letters, provide small, thoughtful gifts, and tell the person just how much you admire specific qualities you notice in them.
  • Encourage your spouse to remain as independent as possible. Even though you certainly have the best of intentions in trying to help, it’s very easy to cross the line into causing damage to the person’s self-esteem. Allow additional time, provide adaptive tools, and step back when you can to allow the person to do whatever they can on their own.
  • Be intentional in creating opportunities to concentrate on your relationship apart from the injury or illness. Continue to participate in the activities and conversations you enjoyed together before the health issue arose, modifying if needed.

If all of this seems easier in theory, there are specific things you can do to ensure you’re maintaining appropriate boundaries with your partner while providing spousal caregiving:

  • Place some favorite photos or memorabilia from past vacations you’ve taken in areas where you’ll see them regularly, to remind yourself of the good times you’ve shared.
  • Hold hands, offer spontaneous hugs, give a back rub or shoulder massage, etc. to stay in close physical contact apart from touch that is a required element of care.
  • Keep an active social network, both as a couple and individually. Activities you engage in with relatives and friends might need to be modified but must not be eliminated altogether.
  • Focus on resolving any conflicts in a healthier way, bringing in a professional counselor for help if required.

An at-home caregiver is a great option to ensure your partner has all the help and support needed, enabling you to concentrate on spending quality time together as a couple. Reach out to us at 919-426-7522 for more information regarding exactly how we can help with home care in Raleigh and the surrounding areas.