Caring for a Spouse with Arthritis

People with arthritis suffer from chronic pain and this often makes them irritable. Living with someone who seems to be constantly on edge can be a challenge and often, you may find yourself combating feelings of resentment. However, by following a few simple guidelines, it is possible to maintain the right perspective and ensure you remain calm and deal lovingly with an arthritic and irritable spouse.

Develop Empathy

A person with arthritis tends to have occasional flare-ups in which there is severe pain in the joints. Of course, visiting a Vancouver physiotherapist may provide some relief but the chronic nature of the pain means that a person may often find it difficult to move about and carry out their personal routine activities; most importantly, he or she may find it unable to sleep peacefully and deeply. Lack of sleep can make any person tired and irritable; no wonder then that your arthritic spouse may be snappy and rude.

For people who have always been independently going about life, it can be devastating to have to rely on someone – even a loved spouse – caring for them. The constant dependency combined with the pain eats away at the arthritic patient’s self-esteem and this can cause him or her to want to withdraw. When you, in your enthusiasm of caring for your spouse, try to help out in whatever way you think to be best, it may elicit a negative reaction but it helps to remember where this reaction is coming from – a low self-image. Put yourself in his or her shoes anytime you feel like snapping back in reply, and you will slowly find your anger ebbing away.

Connect with Other Caregivers

Speak to the Vancouver physiotherapist you visit about the conflict in your mind about caring for your arthritic spouse. Ask for details of any caregiver support groups that may be functioning in your locality; even if you do not find one that is specific for arthritis, try to be part of a support group of people who care for someone with a chronic disease. This can help you in two ways – first, the ability to talk openly about your feelings without a fear of being wrongly judged can provide a wonderful release for all those pent-up feelings. Second, you stand to gain an understanding of how other caregivers cope and the practical tips you receive from other members of the group can help you with your spouse.

Once in a while, make it a point to get away from the situation for a few hours or a few days. Have another relative or a friend take care of your spouse and use the time you get to do something that makes you feel good – watch a movie, go for a game with your friends, get a pedicure, attend a hobby class or work out at the local gym. Do what it takes to mentally relax and recharges your batteries, so you come back refreshed to provide loving care to your spouse.