Caring for a loved one can be the most challenging job you’ll ever have, and going through this transition can disrupt familiar routines and change the dynamic between the two of you. Caregiving can be emotionally and physically taxing. It can also be expensive. So, it is important to identify the support that will be available when you need it. Start planning to take care of your spouse or partner, should it become necessary, and think ahead to prepare for how your partnership will adapt to a serious illness.
Support your community so it can support you.
A starting place for seeking help is within your community. Look into support groups, care centers, and social services so you know what’s available. Before you experience the need for caregiving within your own family, you can support others by giving your time to support groups for caregivers of spouses. Get involved as a volunteer or community servant to give yourself direct experience in caregiving. That way, you will know what to expect and how to adapt if either you or your partner experience a serious illness.
Build a budget for caregiving.
Being prepared for the potential need for caregiving means getting your finances in order. Your future strategy should include the logistical and financial details for health support and caregiving expenses. Look into some options of general assistance, medical coverage, and get an idea of what these costs might be. It’s also a good idea to look into government services and educate yourself on the public benefits you may need. Whatever your savings strategy is for the future, make sure that caregiving costs and expenses are part of it.
Know how you and your partner will support each other.
A lot of questions surround the topic of how you and your partner will take care of each other.
- If one of you is forced to stop working, will the other continue with his or her career?
- Is it possible that you will need to relocate to access proper medical support?
- How will the details change among your shared tasks of running the household and managing your finances?
Have a discussion with your partner about caregiving needs and preparation for dealing with a serious illness or an accident so you’ll have a strategy for helping one another should life change. Caregiving for a spouse is challenging, so learn about ways you can deal with spouse caregiver burnout. Thinking through what will be needed physically, emotionally, and financially will allow you to create a shared path forward. Then you can start putting some solutions in place for tomorrow that will help provide you both with extra comfort and security today.