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What can I do to be a good caretaker when my significant other is ill?

The first step of caretaking is making sure your partner's basic physical needs are being met. Depending on the condition, your significant other may be stuck in bed for most of the day with limited ability to engage in simple tasks, such as cooking, bathing and dressing. You may need to rearrange your work schedule and other responsibilities so you can prepare meals, draw warm baths and help your loved one get dressed.

Remember, you don't have to do it perfectly -- and you don't have to do it all yourself. Ordering takeout or hiring cleaning help is acceptable, as is asking friends and relatives to help. Avoid getting overwhelmed by the daily tasks. Consider designating one day a week for laundry and cooking meals that can be frozen and reheated later.

In addition, if your partner's illness requires frequent trips to see a doctor or stays in the hospital, you may find yourself spending a lot of time in unfamiliar environments. Getting to know the staff at the medical facilities by being friendly and considerate may help make the experience more comfortable for everyone.

One dilemma you may face is whether to stay overnight at a hospital with your spouse for an extended time or to go home and sleep. When making that personal decision, you need to consider if you will be able to get the rest you need in a hospital environment and still have the energy to cope with your new responsibilities.

This content originally appeared on HealthyWomen.org.
 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.