Different Ways Caregiving Changes Your Relationships
A less frequently discussed issue with assuming the role of a caregiver is that of how such a responsibility can abruptly change your relationships to your loved ones. While there are many different kinds of caregiving relationships, the two most common are between partners or adult children and parents.
Partner as Caregiver
You should not feel bad if you begin to experience a strain on your relationship as a result of your role as a caregiver. These types of problems are normal for this situation, and overwhelming stress can easily turn into misplaced frustration and resentment. Also, the one in need of care may feel that they are becoming too much of a burden to their partner. The complications that this change in the relationship should not be underestimated.
Adult Child as Caregiver
It can be difficult for a parent that has spent their entire lives taking care of their child to then be taken care of in turn. This flip in the relationship dynamic can be difficult for a parent to experience. For the adult child as well, there are sure to be problems with finding a new balance in their relationship with their parent. Whether it is illness or aging, the reality of life can be a jarring experience for an adult child that is seeing their parent needing care.
The transition into a caregiving role requires a new balance of dependence and independence that often causes strain on our primary relationships. It is difficult when a relationship such as a romantic partnership or parenthood becomes redefined in a drastically different way. Particularly when the pangs of aging or illness strike a family, the energy and focus that is initially placed can be draining in a long term care situation.
As always, the best ways to move forward are to acknowledge the difficulty of the situation and communicate openly about this difficult transition. When family members, primary caregivers, and care receivers are all working through problems together, this is the only time that the inevitable issues that will arise can be addressed.