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Study: Caregiving Strains Marriages

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hands Study: Caregiving Strains MarriagesAnne Osmer Reporting

A new study released by Caring.com, a Web site that provides information to people who are caring for aging parents, found that 80 percent of baby boomers caring for an aging parent say that it has put a strain on their marriage. The study was conducted in January by an online survey of more than 300 respondents. 

The study also found:

-  46% of baby boomers stated that caregiving damaged their romantic
      relationships.

- 25% of divorced baby boomers said caregiving played a major role in
      their divorce.

 - Baby boomers who are working full-time, are providing financial
      assistance to aging parents, and/or have aging parents living with
      them are at the greatest risk of marital strain.

The new insights on how stress affects marriage among caregivers have also been used to develop resources for those caring for an aging parent, including how to detect signs of stress in their marriages and marriage tips to help caregiving couples make it work.  The new content, on Caring.com, is supported by the “marriage doctors,” Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz, authors of Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage.

“Raising children is a challenge, but caring for aging parents can be an even greater challenge,” said Elizabeth Schmitz, who, along with her husband, Charles Schmitz, has been providing marital advice for over 25 years.  “The time spent caring for an aging parent can take a serious toll on the caregiver’s relationship with their spouse. By providing relationship tips and pointing out warning signs, Caring.com is helping to nurture caregivers in a meaningful way by helping them keep their relationships strong.”

Following are some helpful tips from the “marriage doctors” for coping with the challenges of caring for aging parents while maintaining and strengthening your marriage:

  1. Talk openly with each other about feelings, emotions, and stresses as
     they relate to your care of aging parents.

  2. Make a concerted effort every day to keep the flame of your love affair
     with each other alive.

  3. Approach all financial challenges with teamwork and open communication.

  4. Don’t blame each other when things get tough.

  5. Don’t wallow in self-pity.

  6. Enhance your love relationship by providing each other occasional time
     for privacy and solitude.

  7. Remember that the simple things matter in marriage, and they need to be
     practiced each day.

For more information about the study, click here, or visit www.Caring.com.

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