When Your Partner is Ill

If you’re the caregiver of a chronically ill loved one, research indicates your quality of life is worse than your partner’s. That’s no surprise to the millions of Americans who find themselves thrown into a role for which they were unprepared for. But there are things you can do to ease stress and make life more enjoyable for both you and your partner.

DO

DO take care of yourself. Get enough rest, eat healthy, nutritious foods and exercise.

DO seek support. Call social services or find support groups online or in the community.

DO share with others that youíve become a caregiver. Men, especially, have a difficult time reaching out. But itís not healthy to ìgo it alone.î

DO watch for signs of depression and burnout. Seek counseling if needed.

DO set aside regular ìdate timesî when discussion about illness is off limits. Go to a restaurant or a movie, if possible.

DON’T

DON’T feel guilty for enjoying activities outside the home.

DON’T be afraid to ask your partner to give. Even if he/she canít mow the lawn or wash dishes, they can still listen to your feelings.

DON’T put off discussing your sexual relationship. There are many ways to achieve intimacy.

DON’T forget to communicate. Chronic illness often creates an imbalance in the relationship. Talk openly about the challenges you both face.

DON’T put your head in the sand. Research your partnerís illness, talk with doctors and ask questions. Knowledge is power.