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5 Tips for Maintaining Marital Intimacy with Parkinson’s

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When a spouse has Parkinson’s, a caregiving husband or wife can find that the feelings of emotional, spiritual and physical intimacy they shared for years are no longer there. The caregiver can find himself or herself feeling lonely, isolated, and frustrated in his or her new role. While being a caregiver can be overwhelming for spouses, Naples senior home care experts at Home Care Assistance suggest the following tips to help promote intimacy.

1. Direct Communication
The most important way to promote intimacy when your spouse has Parkinson’s is to maintain honest, open, and loving communication. Be sure to discuss changes in the relationship and establish you and your spouse’s emotional, spiritual, and physical intimacy needs. By having these kinds of conversations you can help ensure you are on the same page and can actively try to address both of your needs. Keeping one another updated on how you are feeling is key, so be sure to implement a weekly time to have a private discussion.

2. Respite Care
Developing a strong support network can be helpful for both the caregiver and the spouse, allowing the caregiver to take time to recharge. If providing care for your spouse is becoming overwhelming and putting a strain on your relationship, asking friends and family to take over a couple simple tasks can give you a window of time to relax. When family and friends have other responsibilities that keep them from helping out, hiring a professional Naples Parkinson’s caregiver can also offer respite care. Supplementary assistance from a family member, friend, or professional caregiver can offer you a period of time to recharge. That way, you can be revitalized when you return to your caregiving duties and take time to focus on your role as husband or wife.

3. Daily Physical Activity
A regular exercise routine is an important part of staying healthy when you’re a caregiver for your spouse. Since physical activity allows you to take your mind off caregiving, reduces stress, and promotes a healthy heart, maintaining an exercise schedule is a good way to promote your emotional and physical wellbeing. Taking a half-hour walk or a short bike ride can be enough to get your blood pumping and can give you a brief break from caregiving. Because certain physical activities can also be beneficial for seniors with Parkinson’s, finding an exercise routine that you and your loved one can do together may promote you and your loved one’s physical health and emotional relationship.

4. Pet Therapy
Since many people find having a pet very therapeutic, having a cat, dog, or other furry friend around the home can help boost you and your loved one’s spirits. The presence of a pet can be so effective that dogs are often used to provide companionship for veterans who experience post-traumatic stress. As a caregiver, having a dog around may give you an extra source of emotional support, as well as another reason to maintain your daily exercise schedule. Likewise, because Parkinson’s can increase your loved one’s feelings of frustration and anxiety, having a pet can offer a natural way to reduce his or her stress.

5. Intimacy of Caregiving
Keep in mind that no matter what challenges you encounter when caring for your spouse, the caregiving process is also incredibly intimate. While the ways that you and your spouse were intimate before may no longer be possible, caregiving offers new ways to forge intimate connections with your husband or wife. Some senior caregivers report that caring for their spouse is even more rewarding than other kinds of intimacy. Rather than mourning the loss of intimacy with your spouse, prepare for new kinds of physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy through caregiving.

As being a caregiver for a husband or wife with Parkinson’s poses certain physical and emotional challenges, selecting an in-home caregiver can be a good way to supplement your loved one’s care. At Home Care Assistance, our expertly trained Naples hourly caregivers can provide flexible care for as little or as much time as needed. Whether you could use extra assistance for a couple hours a week or several hours every day, our care services can be adjusted to fit your schedule. To learn more about our flexible care options, give a Care Manager a call at 239.449.4701 and schedule a free in-home consultation.