For spouses and partners, it is important that you do not neglect your own needs whilst looking after your loved suffering with severe arthritis. The role of carer can be stressful and demanding which, if not carefully managed, can affect your own health and general well-being. Of course, it is a rewarding role and one that many get a huge amount of satisfaction from. But, as a partner-carer, you need to take time out for yourself.
There are networks that can help – but don’t forget your family and friends. Don’t cut yourself off from others. Spend leisure time with your children, socialize with your friends and undertake some form of activity. Exercise can help or try a new hobby. Accept that there will be times when you feel frustrated or tired. This is an entirely normal reaction and means that you are basically, human. Allow yourself to feel like this and try and do something to take your mind off things. Says Scott R. Beach, PhD, director of the Survey Research Program at the University of Pittsburgh and lead author of a 2005 study on care provider behavior: “Use all the available carer services in your area. Or if you have any family members who can help out for a few hours a day, use them, so you can get away for a while. Don’t try to do everything yourself.”