Home > Disability Care > Coping With the Stress of Caring for a Disabled Spouse

Coping With the Stress of Caring for a Disabled Spouse

By: Kevin Dowling BA (IMC) - Updated: 14 Oct 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Coping Stress Caring Carer Disabled

A recent study revealed that the stress of caring for a disabled wife or husband increases the risk of stroke substantially for the carer.

Stress related symptoms suffered by the carers who participated in the survey included depression and feelings of loneliness and isolation. The symptoms were matched with carers’ risk factors including age, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, smoking and diabetes. The association between stress and health problems was found to be significantly stronger in husbands than in wives.

There’s little argument that caring for a partner suffering from a disability is highly stressful, but what can carers do to ensure that their own health doesn’t deteriorate? Firstly, those caregivers who are feeling the strain can and should seek help, including counselling and additional assistance.

Taking Care of the Carer

It’s a common failing. All too often carers can be so preoccupied with the health and well-being of the person they are looking after that their own lives take a back seat.

No matter how well you try to deal with your role as a carer, there will inevitably come a time when you experience higher than normal levels of stress and feelings of struggling to cope. It is important to appreciate, however, that if a carer can eliminate stress it can improve the quality of their own life, this will also positive effects for the person being cared for.

Understanding Stress

Health experts believe that small amounts of stress in our normal daily lives can be good for us, although continual stress is known to cause health problems.

Unfortunately for most carers, they find themselves in a situation, not of their own making, that can be a constant cause of stress. As well as taking on several additional responsibilities, there may also be financial problems and feelings of frustration and hopelessness to take into account.

Ways to Fight Stress

The first steps to avoiding stress involve trying to identify any symptoms of stress you may be currently experiencing. These could include ‘unusual behaviour’, such as displaying a short temper, over-reacting to minor setbacks, shouting at people or taking out frustrations on people who are unaware of what you are feeling. These sort of reactions tend to cause symptoms such as a lack of appetite, poor sleeping patterns and headaches.

For carers in particular, stress has a tendency to centre on mental and emotional pressures, rather than physical. One of the major effects of stress is that the body is constantly on ‘red alert’, often without any way to relax or find a physical release through exercise. Possible ways of dealing with these feelings of stress can include:

  • Using friends and family to talk through your feelings and to ask for their support
  • Taking time to get exercise that will be physically rewarding and also take your mind off any stressful situations you are experiencing
  • Seeking help and advice from your local doctor, pharmacists or other health professionals who are aware of your carer role
  • Using the internet to find message boards, blogs and facebook groups for people in a similar situation to your own

Over time, stress can not only affect the carer, but can also have a significant impact on the people around them, including the person they are caring for. Stress can damage relationships, so it is vital to identify the causes of stress as soon as you can and take steps to address them. Identifying and dealing with your stress is an important part of continuing your role as a carer, whilst ensuring that your own health does not suffer.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
I know God will never give you more than you can handle, but I'm so tired and fatigued of caring for my disabled husband for nearly 30 years now. He is getting worse, everyday is a struggle and all we can do is cry. He has Spinal Stenosis, Degenative Disk Disease, Afibliation, Diabetes, ongoing Vertigo, Sleep Apnea and Obesity. He suffers with severe chronic pain in his back and legs, everyday, all day. I have to work a full time job and have to leave him as I have to make an income for our survival. He can barely walk due to pain and never sleeps all night in our bed. He sleeps in his recliner most of the time and alternates to the bed during the night and early morning hours. He goes to his Pain Clinic monthly and now in fear his medications will end due to new laws of our rising Opiate addicts. His medications were decreased last month by his doctor and if you try to go to a new doctor, then you are automatically labeled as an addict because you are trying to see a new doctor. When will this ever end? We are so desperate for a miracle and I have no one to talk too.
Lizzy - 14-Oct-19 @ 3:51 PM
Hi i am the one who needs caring for. I have a spinal injury and I am slowly going paralysed sadly it looks like the spinal operation could be as dangerous as me “gracefully’ getting more paralysed daily. I am mindful of trying to be as independent as possible but it is really hard.I have thought about things the other way around and wondered if I should end things to free him of the burden of me. Is this the answer who knows? I definitely don’t want him to stay with me through pity. Life sure is tough for us all.
Kerinoo - 25-Jul-19 @ 6:47 PM
The stress of caring for a disabled partner broke up my relationship. It's so hard to be solely financially responsible, responsible for looking after a household and responsible for giving your partner the care they need and deserve. I've never felt more isolated or alone in all my life. I left the relationship broken both emotionally and financially.
James - 26-Jun-19 @ 3:31 PM
It’s very difficult caring for a disabled partner when you have to work. I feel like the assumption is that the care giver has no other job/ has an endless pit of patience.
Bob - 16-Jun-19 @ 9:15 AM
Chris- Your Question:
My husband's making my life a misery I can't cope with him anymore he's becoming violent an also refuses to take his insulin unless he gets what he wants.his sugar levels were totally out of control last year.I've had enough I don't know what to do or who to turn to

Our Response:
Firstly see if you can talk to the GP (yours own if you don't share the same GP) for advice, they may be able to get a community nurse involved etc. Secondly try one of the many organisations that offer help and support to carers, here a some of them:
Carers UK
Support Line
AGE UK
FundingCaring - 10-Jan-18 @ 2:31 PM
My husband's making my life a misery I can't cope with him anymore he's becoming violent an also refuses to take his insulin unless he gets what he wants .his sugar levels were totally out of control last year .I've had enough I don't know what to do or who to turn to
Chris - 9-Jan-18 @ 1:23 PM
Im looking after my husband with end stage renal disease...im struggling with the total life xhange..imm 44 and I simply dont have a normal life.
twistytop - 18-Jun-17 @ 8:22 AM
Disabled get carers allowance my partner carter and know what's to seperate help
Chelsea - 13-Feb-17 @ 4:18 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments