Tell Us: Does Caregiving (and Decline) Change the Love?


Tell Us: Does Caregiving (and Decline) Change the Love?

flower-375762_640One of our members asked a question this morning:

Do you feel a change in your love for your caree?

In the past, we've looked at how caregiving responsibilities affect a spouse caring for a spouse. But, we haven't looked at the change across any caregiving situation--caring for parents, spouse, grandparents, children, siblings, friends.

So, I wonder: How has caregiving and its responsibilities and your caree's decline and disease process affected how you feel about your caree? Do you feel closer? Further apart? If you had a difficult relationship with your caree prior to caregiving, what's the relationship like for you now? If you had a close relationship with your caree prior to caregiving, has the closeness remained?

I'm just starting to help my parents and I feel like the love ebbs and flows much more than it did prior. I find myself more frustrated, almost bordering on intolerance (!), with their declines, even as I understand the science of their declines. Their slowness and hearing loss does get to me (and my love for them) at times.

And, yet, other times, I've found myself feeling much closer to them as we share really vulnerable times, like my father's cancer diagnosis. I felt very protective of my mom this morning, who has sores (or bruises? hard to tell) on her lower leg. I noticed one a few weeks ago and asked her about it a few times. She wasn't concerned until this morning, when another appeared. I asked some questions (any draining, pain?) as she shared she's going to the doctor this afternoon. I felt much gentler with her as we talked about what these sores could be. So my long story for my short answer is: The love I feel seems to change as the situations we face change.

What about for you? Please feel free to share your experiences and thoughts in our comments section, below.

(If you're a spousal caregiver, you may find our video chats and blog posts about managing caregiving and marriage helpful.)

Like this article? Share on social


Sign in to comment


Somewhere along the line my mom went away and this odd little lady took her place. I would not say I have \"love\" for her in the sense of tenderness or closeness. I have \"love\" in the Marriage-Encounter-Sense that Love is a Decision. I have found more and more often the unsolicited thought comes to mind, \"I have to tell Mom about that\", and then I pull myself up short and remember that Mom's not there any more. So I guess I miss her more than I realize. I rarely even call her Mom.

Donna Bates

YES, it changes, alters, and interferes with all emotions in the house and it scares the crap out of you. But when you take time to understand this is a challenging transition, temporary situation, and TRUST your core instinct, you will find the deep love that will hold it all together, waiting for a better day.