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How can I have a relationship with my husband who now needs 24 hour care?

I feel more like a mother than a wife and I can't figure out how to work this out. Is it possible to have a married relationship like this?
Status: Open    Dec 19, 2014 - 03:25 PM

Caregiving, Relationships

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Jan 01, 2015 - 11:04 AM

The burden placed on a marriage when a spouse needs 24-hour care for cognitive or physical disability is extrordinarily difficult to bear. I meet with spouses and audlt children every day who have had their lives radically altered and, indeed, feel like a parent instead of fulfilling their natural role. The advice I give families first is to take steps in seeking assistance in providing direct care to your husband. This could be in the form of family, a caregiver or even a senior living community. Even small respites from providing 24 hour care are important to maintain your health and relationship.

In addition, I have found Connie Goldman's book, The Gifts of Caregiving: Stories of Hardship, Hope, and Healing, to be a beacon of hope for your situation.

To assist you immediately, here is a quote directly from

Gems of wisdom: * Humor always helps * A caregiver must take time for herself * It is a special experience--a time of growth * You must give up expectations * We are all mortal (even teens) * One day at a time. Stay in the present * Appreciate the simple things * There is a partnership between those giving and those receiving--listen * Help her validate the life she has had * Physical touch is valuable * Find others to share both the good and the difficult * Ask for help when you need it * Acknowledge your anger, your fear, your impatience, your guilt * You will not make her well, but you can ease the way * Being with him is important. One does not always have to do. You have the list, but you do not have the stories that will dwell in your mind and your heart. You may not need this book now, but you will be inspired by it as you read these stories of quiet courage, love, and hope.


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