We completely lucked out on the flight home and got to see:
The Southern tip of Greenland
The Canadian Rockies
At some point or another, you will end up caregiving for your partner. It falls into the “In sickness and in health” category of many wedding vows.
Caregiving is hard for both parties. As a given, the person who is ill or recovering feels lousy and/or in pain. In addition, no one likes to feel out of control or unable to do what you want or need to. The person being cared for is appreciative, yet may feel beholden, unworthy, or uncomfortable being cared for, among other feelings. Consequently, the person may have a crummy attitude at times that seeps out onto their caregiver.
The person providing care is likely worried, tired and uncertain if s/he’s providing the right care at necessary times. Plus, due to his/her regular responsibilities, a caregiver can feel overloaded and overwhelmed.
If this isn’t a set up for poor communication in a relationship, I don’t know what is! So, what is to be done? As always: be kind, talk, think out loud, be curious, ask good questions of one another, seek solutions together, and slow everything down.
Ask questions such as:
• Does the cared-for person feel the caregiver is hovering? Over or under-involved? If so, how come, and what would work better for both of you?
• Does the caregiver feel s/he is asking too often, “How are you doing/feeling?” As the cared-for person, be forthcoming about how you’re doing so your partner doesn’t need to ask as much, and knows s/he’s providing what’s needed.
• In the midst of caregiving, how are you getting in couple-time? Physical regulation such as belly-to-belly hugs, hand holding, curling up together. Conversations about more than logistics that leave you both feeling loved and cared for. Quality time, such as you’re able to have; maybe sitting together and listening to music or watching a show. Acts of service are unequal during caregiving; that’s just how it is. If making a cup of coffee or another small act is possible by the person being cared for, do it! And do whatever you can for yourself; you’ll both feel good about that (just don’t overdo it). If gifts are important, they can be small tokens, and ordered online.
What other questions or discussion topics have been helpful for you during caregiving?