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  • Writer's pictureThe Care Company

Creating Healthy Boundaries While Caring for a Partner

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

happy senior couple with healthy caregiving boundaries

It goes without saying that successful, long-lasting relationships take commitment, compromise, and sacrifice. The happiest relationships are those where both parties selflessly take care of each other. The balance can shift, however, if you eventually have to start caring for a partner after they suffer a serious health concern. And this shift can have an adverse impact on the dynamics of your relationship if you’re not vigilant, as you find yourself in the role of care provider.

Although you want to do everything you can for your loved one, it is important to ensure you are not sacrificing your romantic connection in the process of caring for a partner. Attempting to parent your partner may cause resentment – for you both. To maintain healthy boundaries, keep the following in mind:

  • Have an open, honest discussion about 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 goals and dreams together.

  • Be deliberate in creating opportunities to focus on your relationship aside from the injury or illness. Continue to take part in the activities and conversations you enjoyed together before the health issue arose, modifying when needed.

  • Express your love for your partner in ways that have nothing at all to do with the care you’re providing. Write love letters, provide simple, thoughtful gifts, and tell the person just how much you admire specific attributes you notice in them.

  • Empower your partner to stay as independent as possible. Even though you certainly have the best of intentions in wanting to help, it’s not difficult to cross the line into causing harm 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.

While this may seem much more easily said than done, there are specific things you can do to make sure you’re keeping appropriate boundaries while caring for a partner:

  • Keep an active social network, both as a couple and individually. The activities you take part in with relatives and friends might need to be modified but must not be eliminated altogether.

  • Hold hands, offer spontaneous hugs, give a back rub or shoulder massage, etc. to stay in close physical contact outside of touch that is a necessary element of care.

  • Focus on resolving any conflicts in a healthier way, bringing in a professional counselor for help if needed.

  • Place some favorite photos or memorabilia from previous vacations you’ve taken in places where you’ll see them regularly, to remind yourself of the happy times you’ve shared.

An at-home caregiver from The Care Company is a great way to ensure your partner has all of the help and support needed, enabling you to prioritize spending quality time together as a couple. Email, or call us at (416) 422-2273 for more information regarding exactly how we can help with our services for elderly care in the Greater Toronto area.

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