In Sickness and in Health: Supporting a Spouse with Chronic Illness




Others | Tuesday, 01 Aug 2017

Marriage represents the union of two people bonded by love. Ideally, your spouse is your pillar of strength and support, and you are his or hers. However, what happens when the “in sickness and in health” portion of your marriage vows is tested? If your spouse is ever diagnosed with a chronic illness, you'd likely want to support them the best way you can. Here are a few ways you can do so:


Understanding the Illness

One of the most helpful things you can do as a spouse is to understand the illness. Learn about the symptoms, treatments and possible side effects of medication. Taking time to understand the illness may help you provide effective care for your partner. The Internet can be a useful platform to obtain information, as well as to read the experiences of others.


Understanding the illness can also help you empathize with your partner, as it makes you more keenly aware of the distress they might be experiencing. Emotional support and consideration will help your partner feel their needs and challenges are understood as you work through this time together.



Communicating With Your Partner

Of course, another way to learn about the illness is to simply talk to your partner. Ask about their experiences and be considerate of their thoughts and feelings.


Keeping open channels of communications is especially important when one partner is coping with a chronic illness. Both partners should feel comfortable with expressing their needs and addressing challenges. While you shouldn't shy away from discussing the illness, don't let it become an all-consuming topic of conversation either. Having other topics to talk is important so that your relationship with your spouse does not become defined by the illness.



Adapting to Changes in Lifestyle

Your spouse's illness might prevent him or her from contributing to household chores as before, shifting a greater portion of the responsibility to you. However, try to find ways to have your spouse continue to contribute within his or her capacity. Not only will you feel less overwhelmed, doing so will help them feel less like a patient and more like an equal partner in the relationship.


While illnesses may lead to physical and emotional strain between you and your partner, it is best to encourage open communication between yourselves and with the doctor too. If necessary, find new ways to adapt and alleviate your partner’s pain. Look for ways of expressing care and consideration for each other.


Taking Time for Self-Care

As you support your partner, take time for self-care as well. It's important to rest and recharge, as concentrating all your time and energy on your partner can lead to burnout. You can try solo activities like walking or gardening – activities that have the added benefit of getting you outdoors.


Look for ways to build support networks with others. Drawing support from your friends, relatives, religious communities or support groups with people of similar illnesses could act as buffer against isolation. Beyond emotional support, having strong relationships with others means having people to count on when you need assistance with day-to-day tasks.



Dealing with Financial Strain

Chronic illness can be a huge impact on your finances. You may have increased medical expenses in addition to lost income if the illness has made it difficult for your spouse to keep working. Setting a budget will help you track income and expenses to cut costs where possible. Having a clear picture of your finances can also help you plan for the long-term financial costs of the illness.


This is where Critical Illness Insurance can help in being part of a sound and prudent financial strategy as it is designed to assist you with the unexpected costs of getting sick. Critical Illness insurance provides financial support if your loved one is diagnosed with expensive to treat illnesses as defined in your contract. So, when you consider investing in a Critical Illness Insurance, choose a plan that offers the following:


  • A wide coverage for the conditions that pose the greatest threat to your health.
  • The ability to receive your benefit upfront or in one lump sum.
  • A coverage with no or high annual limit.
  • Provides a hassle free admission to an extensive panel of hospitals.


Having a good medical insurance policy could make all the difference when facing the financial burden of chronic illness. Check your spouse's insurance coverage to see what treatment costs and hospitalization fees it covers. If your spouse has just been diagnosed with a critical illness, a medical insurance policy like Allianz Prime Care could even help you with the costs of seeking early treatment before the illness worsens.


Additionally, if your spouse depends on you financially, consider getting life insurance coverage such as Allianz PowerShield for yourself. It could help ensure that your loved one is supported financially in the event that you suffer disability or pass away unexpectedly.



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