Being a Caregiver for Parent Can Lead to Spousal Resentment. This Can Be Avoided.

When one spouse must add the role of being a caregiver to a parent or other elder family member the impact on the spousal relationship can be very difficult. Carol Bradley Bursack, a veteran caregiver addresses this concern.

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Being a Caregiver for Parent Can Lead to Spousal Resentment. This Can Be Avoided.
4 Min Read September 24th, 2019 Updated:August 16th, 2021

Having a long-term happy marriage is often hard work. Typically you raise children, grow in your careers, and face the many challenges all relationships must deal with in life. However, when one spouse must add the role of being a caregiver to a parent or other elder family member, the impact on the spousal relationship can be complicated.

Without an Advance Plan the Family Must Deal with Long-Term Care

Many elders today do not have Long-Term Care Insurance. Those who do have a policy benefit significantly. According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, the major insurance companies paid over $11.6 Billion in benefits to American families. These benefits helped people afford their choice of quality care either in their homes or in a facility.

Without an LTC policy, an extended care event can create a crisis. This crisis means family members must provide their long-term care services, or care services would be paid for through their savings. Sometimes both. 

Caregiving is difficult and stressful on its own. Many people fail to consider the impact on the caregiver’s family, including their spouse and children.

Sibling Strife 

Generally, only one child becomes the caregiver. Other siblings either don’t live nearby or have any interest or ability to provide care based on their careers, health, and family situation. This leads to sibling strife. But what happens to the one person to ends up with the responsibility of taking care of Mom or Dad?

The caregiver must make sacrifices. The sacrifices include their careers, their own health, their spouses, and their relationship with their children. Too often, we fail to think about how a long-term care event will affect the rest of the family. 

Caregiving for a parent or grandparent is particularly challenging for the “sandwich generation” of adult daughters and sons in their 30s through 50s who are juggling careers, children, and caring for an aging family member.

Spouses of Caregivers Feel the Strain as Well

The couple’s life changes overnight. The financial situation can change. Simple things like vacations or just eating out for dinner become compromised. This places the other spouse with all the family responsibilities since the caregiver’s hands are full. 

Carol Bradley Bursack is an author and veteran caregiver. She addresses this concern in her Dear Candid Caregiver column in HealthCentral. She answers an email from a caregiver wife who says she doesn’t want their marriage to deteriorate, but the caregiving situation is causing severe stress on both of them. Read her response by clicking here.

Have You Prepared Your Family and Finances for the Impact of Your Future Care?

How would your family deal with your future need for long-term care services? The time to address the financial costs and burdens of aging is before you retire. The easy and affordable solution for many American families is Long-Term Care Insurance. 

The problem of long-term care is both a cash flow issue and a family issue. These policies provide the resources for your choice of quality care options in the setting you desire. This way, you have the financial resources to pay for the care without draining assets and adversely impacting your income and lifestyle. 

Give Family Time to be Family

However, it is more than just about money. A Long-Term Care Insurance policy is a plan that helps your family have the time to be family and not have to deal with being a caregiver or even managing paid caregivers.

Most policies include case managers. These are professionally training nurses or social works who help the family at the time of claim. They typically help develop a plan of care based on the desires of the individual and their family. They help find the appropriate caregivers or facilities which fit the needs and desires of the family. 

Many adult children note that with a policy in place, the entire family has the time to just be family. It reduces the stress and resentment between spouses and siblings. It also protects the health and financial well-being of the children who would otherwise be impacted if they had to step into a caregiving role, as is often the case with no advance planning.

Experts suggest putting a plan in advance before you retire. Ideally, this is when you are in your 40s or 50s. Premiums are much more affordable, and your health is generally much better.

Seek the help of a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to help you shop for the best coverage at the best value. Premiums can vary over 100% between companies.

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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

If you have children, you probably don't want to place caregiving's entire responsibility and burden on them. Being a caregiver is very difficult and can adversely impact their own families, careers, and health. 

If they don't live nearby, this makes it even more difficult. If you don't have children, a Long-Term Care policy can ensure you access to quality care choices either at home or in a quality facility. They can become your advocate as well.

Your Health is Key to Planning

The underwriting criteria differ with every company. You will have to answer some health questions even to obtain an accurate quote. You ideally want to get coverage when you enjoy good health. If you are already receiving care in your home or living in a care facility, you would be ineligible for coverage. Some policies offer coverage for those with some health issues. 

A Long-Term Care specialist can help you determine your eligibility based on your health history - Work With a Specialist | LTC News. An LTC insurance specialist is an individual that focuses their practice on long-term care planning solutions. The American Association of Long-Term Care Insurance, a national trade and advocacy group, recommends that this person work for several top companies, understand underwriting and policy design, and have enough clients over time to have the experience necessary to make the proper recommendations.

LTC NEWS Tools Help with Research

The best time to plan is in your 40s or 50s, before retirement, when you can enjoy the lowest premiums and good health discounts. It would be best if you started your research by finding the current and future cost of long-term care services where you live. You will see the current and future financial impact of long-term health care.

With the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator, you discover the current and future cost of care services. In addition, you will also see the availability of tax incentives and partnership program plans and other critical information - Cost of Care Calculator - Choose Your State | LTC News.

Remember, Long-Term Care Insurance is custom designed and has many options. A specialist will match you, your age, and your health with the best company at the best value, so you don't spend more than what you need. 

Unlike what you may have read in the past, today's Long-Term Care Insurance is very affordable and rate stable. Plus, several types of products are available, including hybrid or asset-based plans, spousal shared plans, and more. A financial advisor or general insurance agent will usually not have this experience. Since premiums can vary over 100% or more between companies for the exact same coverage, it is worth your time to find the right person.

Need Care Now? Need Help with LTC Insurance Claims?

You might have a parent or other family member who needs care now. If they have a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Get free assistance in making a claim. 

LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News. You can also help find caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not.

Reverse Mortgages Can Be Part of a Plan

If most of your assets are tied up in your home, today's reverse mortgages might help as the solution for either funding Long-Term Care Insurance or paying for care - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News

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