My husband is my caregiver in our home. I'm living with incontinence, mobility problems, and a sleep disorder.

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You are very thoughtful to ask this question.
Why not ask him. Start by telling him how much you appreciate him. I don't know honestly what you are capable of doing for him so I cannot suggest you do anything. But honestly telling him how much you appreciate all he does, and how much you love him will help. Then ASK HIM if there is something that you CAN do to make his life easier. What does he need from you? Does he need time to go out alone and have a good time with a beer and a buddie? Does he need time to go out anywhere at all? Is there something you can make easier for him in your daily journey?
If you are up to hearing some truths then ask him to tell you truthfully, even if he thinks some things will hurt you. And they may. Just tell him to think about things, and then reconnect and let you know. I can tell you that he will love you for the question. He may tell you he loves you, neither of you got a vote on how any of this would go, you will get through together. He may actually tell you some things he has thought he would like to do, and has been afraid to suggest.
Without further info on what you can do, and what he must do, I couldn't know anything else to suggest. Perhaps telling him you would be willing to go to respite care for a week or two if he would like to go fishing, camping, just get away on his own.
You are wonderful for wanting to ask this question, in my book. And do remember, neither of you did get a vote on this. This is no ones fault. And you are both doing the best you can out of loving and caring. Hugs out to you.
Helpful Answer (14)

Make sure you TRY to do everything you can for yourself. NEVER complain. Even if he could do better, he is with you and trying. COMPLIMENT him often.
Caregiving is soul crushing. It sucks the energy out of a person who isn’t appreciated. It’s to your best interest and his to build him up.
Make sure you take the time to listen to what is going on with him and don’t let it be all about you, your dr appointments, your aches and pains. Keep yourself clean and well groomed. Just simple lipstick and tidying of your hair can brighten his day. Don’t have the TV on programs that drive him crazy or he doesn’t agree with. When he prepares food, be sure to compliment him on his efforts. Don’t stay on the phone with annoying (to him) people in his prescence. Tell him you will write the checks, peel the potatoes, whatever you are physically able to do. Ask to fold the laundry. Ask questions about his child hood, holidays at home, favorite memories, his work life. Make him laugh. Encourage him to get out of the house. Do your therapy everyday. DO YOUR THERAPY EVERYDAY. ♥️
Really there are many ways we all can be more gentle, loving and kind to one another. Keep a gratitude journal. It can change your life. The better you do, the better he will do. The suggestions I made may not be appropriate in your circumstance but once you get started you will find it easy. Watch him carefully for burnout. Many caregivers die before their patient does. They don’t take care of themself. Remember that you getting homehealth or going into an ALF when it’s time is for him as much as you. I applaud you for asking this question. Hugs
Helpful Answer (12)

My husband took care of me for many months while I was pregnant and on bed rest. A few things that made it not so awful for both of us were:
- Maintaining intimacy. Remember that you are still his wife.
- Having a daily event we could look forward to. In our case, it was watching a sports news show together (even though I wasn’t a sports fan).
- Having a hobby that you can do yourself to remain interesting. I was a reader. Although most of the books were my favorites, a few were about subjects hubby liked. I was surprised how much he appreciated that I could talk about topics he was into.
- Surprising him. Do something/anything that he doesn’t expect!
- Giving each other space. My husband had an online business and I would leave him alone to work on it at certain times each day. No one wants to be on call 24/7.
- Keeping your own attitude up.
Helpful Answer (10)

I recommend you write him a letter telling him how much you love him, and all he means to you. He can keep the letter and re-read it when he is having a rough patch.
Helpful Answer (9)

Be kind.
Be pleasant.
Don't complain.
Don't be dramatic.
Tell him you love him.
And "please" and "thank you" mean a lot more than you may think.
Helpful Answer (8)

God bless you for asking this question! As a long time caregiver, I'm not sure I've ever heard anyone concerned about my well-being. Here are a few ideas that would help me:
* Acknowledge your husband and all he does - which means you need to NOTICE him and what he's actually doing for you.
* Don't be afraid to give him credit for something (dinner, going the extra mile, etc.)
* THINK about what you are doing and if it will make more work for him. For example, if you throw something on the floor, are you going to be the one to pick it up? If you leave a mess in the bathroom, are you going to be able to clean it up or will he have to add it to his other chores? If he's already in the kitchen, ask for something to eat or drink then, not after he's sitting back down. Obviously, these things are just common courtesy but, when you're ill, you don't always consider them.
* Please and thank you (sincerely) go a very long way - don't stop saying them!
* Let him know every day how much you love him and appreciate him and everything he does for you
* TALK TO HIM! Find out how he's feeling and if he needs some respite himself.
* If you can, maybe surprise him with a gift of some kind. You can order online, or get a friend to pick something up, or even just write a sincere thank you note.

I could go on forever but these small but important courtesies are often overlooked in the big picture of a caregiver/loved one scenario. You sound like a sweet, loving and caring wife so I'm sure you and your husband will be fine! Best wishes
Helpful Answer (4)

I took care of my DH 24/7 and the only thing I asked of him was that he not yell at me that I gave him too much to eat - for some reason that pushed the wrong buttons and I always got very very upset. I said, eat what you can and just leave the rest.

Also, I got tired of hearing, "I hate to bother you." I wound up telling him, just tell me what you want or need - please don't make me drag it out of you because the stress was killing me. He got better about just asking for what he needed.

Not demands - asking. Big difference. And continue thanking and saying you love him. And ask for hugs!! In a marriage, physical contact is very important. Ask for hugs and offer hugs.
Helpful Answer (3)
Karsten Oct 2019
my own mom states things like: you have to do this, or here is something you have to do.

I say I don't HAVE to do anything. She asks if the words are so important. And normally, they would not be, but it reveals her heart. She really thinks I Have to do this and I hate the demanding, entitled manner.
I'm guessing that many of the caregivers on this site are wishing they were taking care of someone so kind and thoughtful. You have gotten some great advice.

As others have said, please and thank you are invaluable. I would like to add that tone of voice is also important. My MIL would bark orders at me and forget her manners. That was tough to be patient with her!

One thing that I would have appreciated from her was asking questions of life outside of her apartment. As she became housebound, her interest rarely went beyond the game shows on TV. "What was the ShowCase ShowDown today?" wasn't exciting conversation on a daily basis.

Also, when you need items from the store, please make a note of it when you think of it. I can't tell you how many times I got back from the store to find out that she forgot to tell me something she needed. She also wouldn't call me while I was there...just assumed that I would make it a priority to get it quickly. We made a preprinted grocery list of her most common items but she never used it.

Are you trying to keep in touch with your friends? My MIL would complain that no one called her but she refused to pick up the phone herself. She thought because she was older that anyone younger than her should be calling her. Keeping up with friends will keep you engaged and give you something to talk with hubby about.

If you have PT exercises, please do them...for your sake and his. Show him that you are making an effort to be the best that you can.

Last thought is related to others advice to compliment him often. I would like to add to try to brag on him in front of other people. Public acknowledgement of his efforts will make him feel important and might make others more willing to step in and help if needed.

Bless you for being so caring!
Helpful Answer (3)

As a 24/7 caregiver, what I would like is a 1-2 week break. My husband refuses to let anyone else care for him at home, and he won't go into a rehab for a little while so I can have a break. I feel like I'm in prison. I think you are terrific for considering your husband too; many never look beyond their own needs.
Helpful Answer (3)

You and your husband are the epitome of what a loving and caring (both ways) relationship should be.
With such a considerate wife, I’m sure he’s very happy with your please and thank you!
As you have such a loving /thoughtful relationship, I don’t know the nature of your reason for needing care. But if it’s progresssive ensure you both talk about what might be best to do - if - now.
i see someone suggested respite care. Rather than full weeks at this stage you might like to suggest a day centre 1 or 2 days a week.
This would give your husband free time to do activities he might not be able to whilst caring.
It would give you a chance to adjust and get used to the routine there whilst knowing it’s just for a few hours to allow your husband some free time.
Bless you for sharing - was a wonderful insight to a happy marriage.
Keep in touch
Helpful Answer (3)

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