Becoming A Caretaker Changes Your Relationship

When someone you love becomes seriously ill and you become their caretaker, your relationship to that person changes. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a parent or a spouse, the dynamics are now different.

Sure the old ways of relating are still there but when you make all the decisions about their care, it’s a tall order, especially if you don’t have any medical knowledge, like me.

You want to keep the person comfortable, you want to make good decisions, you want to actually help them get better, yet you don’t really know how.

You don’t really know if you should push them to be independent or if it’s best if you do things for them.

You don’t know what questions to ask them or the doctor.

You don’t know when something is serious and when it isn’t.

Largely, you have a lot of responsibility but very little knowledge on how to carry out that responsibility.

Back in my psychology training days, that was the recipe for stress.

Your loved one depends on you.

They don’t know how you can help them either but you are all they got.

They may not trust you to do everything right.

They may want to dictate to you what to do, possibly because they have lost so much control and controlling you gives them that sense of control.

You may not be good at taking orders, like me. I have never liked being told what to do. Yet, you understand that the person is helpless and dependent so if the roles were reversed, you would want someone to help you. So, you bite your tongue and do your best to care for them and meet their demands.

You feel helpless and sometimes hopeless. You can’t see things improving. You feel like crying but don’t want your loved one to see. You need a break but there isn’t one. You are tired beyond anything you have ever experienced yet nothing you are going through compares to what they are going through.

People tell you to take care of yourself but sometimes you forget to brush your teeth or you’re too tired to take a shower.

You aren’t hungry but then when you are, you can’t figure out what to cook so you eat something available like cookies or chips.

You don’t meditate anymore. You say quick, pleading prayers.

You don’t exercise but you feel your body aching with soreness from lifting wheelchairs and walkers awkwardly and trying to get them into and out of cars.

Your world has been turned upside down and so has your loved one’s life. You need each other but often can’t talk about it without an abundance of tears.

You feel alone even with many people reaching out.

You don’t know what tomorrow will bring but you hope and pray for a miracle.

You have good days and bad days.

You have good reports that are celebrated and bad reports that cause sadness and concern.

You are on an emotional roller coaster and would love to get off but there is no end in sight.

Yes, you’re relationship has changed. They need you. You do your best to meet their needs. Your own needs are put aside. The relationship is no longer a mutual give and take.

Your love is strong but relies on memories to carry you through.

Laughter is seldom.

I never knew what caretakers went through. But, now, here I am. I can say that it’s the hardest job you will ever have.

If you know someone who is a caretaker continue to reach out to them, let them know you are thinking about them and their loved one and that you are praying for them both. Offer meals because that’s the last thing they are thinking about. Offer to sit with their loved one while they run an errand or take a nap. You can ask what they need and they may know but they may not. Ask again later because needs change and even though they didn’t need anything before doesn’t mean they don’t need anything now.

Let them know they are not alone and that you are available anytime to talk or anything else they may need.

My heart goes out to all the caretakers in the world! May you find peace in the middle of stress and joy in your darkest hours because you are not alone and this too shall pass.

Hold on, keep plugging, and don’t look too far down the road. Today is enough to be concerned about. And please know that I love you! I feel your pain. And I’m here for you.

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20 thoughts on “Becoming A Caretaker Changes Your Relationship

  1. Reblogged this on Campbells World and commented:
    Hello to all.
    Wanda shares with us a very personal struggle.
    I’d like to ask all of you please keep Wanda and her husband in your prayers and if you’re comfortable doing so reach out to her in some way.
    If you want to help and don’t know how, might I suggest going to her blog and finding her book information and give it a share on your blogs or social media.
    I’m certain in this time of her life marketing her work is the last thing on her mind.
    Wanda I love you.
    My heart aches for you as I write and post this.

    If you yourself have been or are a care giver for a family member maybe you've some words of wisdom for Wanda. If so please do reach out to her.
    Blessid be Wanda.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on My Corner and commented:
    Wanda Luthman and I both know what it’s like to be a family caregiver. Although my husband is gone, and I no longer have these responsibilities, like Wanda, I want others in our situation to know they’re not alone. That’s why I wrote My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I loved Despite Debilitating Odds. You’ll find more information about this memoir plus ordering links on my website at http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the reblog, Abbie! I’m glad you wrote a book about your experience so that others going through this will know they are not alone. I’m going to check it out.

      Like

  3. Been there, Wanda, and my heart goes out to you. It’s not easy to balance being wife and carer.
    Please try to find the time to take of yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
    My thoughts are with you both.
    ~Rainne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Rainne. I have been blessed so far with family coming to help and friends offering meals. Sometimes I don’t even know what to ask for. I’m doing the best I can to take care of myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am on the other side, I need the care. No, it is not easy for either of you. My heart and prayers go out to you both. Be sure to ask for help. It was the hardest lesson I had to learn. I’m still learning it. Thank you for following my blog. I hope it helps in some small way. You are always welcome and Please ask if there is anything I can do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never had a clue how hard it is to be a caretaker but I know it pales in comparison to what the other person is going through.
      Glad to connect via this blogging world!
      Thank you for your generosity of spirit and I’m here for you too.

      Liked by 2 people

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