Monday, July 28, 2014
When one spouse has a chronic illness there are obvious challenges facing the couple. Provided below are various answers from couples as to how they have made their difficult situation work. Not only do they say that it takes love, mutual devotion, acceptance and a positive outlook, but they also credit friends and family, medical professionals and social services for help.
- Privilege to Provide Care. David Steiner took care of his wife, Mary, who was confined to a wheelchair for 12 years and says it was a privilege. “I am so grateful for the time we had and the help I had from all of the health care professionals over the years . . . I learned from her and from them how very precious life is.”
- Significance of Support. Deborah Ruppert suffers from three conditions, and her husband handles household chores. The couple does not have a car so they rely on the Red Cross Ride Connection and friends for transportation. Deborah says that has been the key to maintaining a healthy marriage, “There is NO good way to do this in the current nuclear family oriented society we have,” stressing that a village approach would help partners share the burden of caregiving together.
- Pay it Forward. Brie Stoianoff cares for her husband Kevin who has multiple sclerosis. While it is stressful to raise a four-year-old, deal with MS and work, Brie and her husband have found positive ways to respond to MS. They have raised more than $200,000 for MS research through Bike MS.
See Liza Kaufman Hogan, When One Spouse is Healthy and the Other Isn’t, Forbes, July 25, 2014.