“He doesn’t do what I want him to do.” “ He acts like he is bothered when I need his help.” “ I have to tell him exactly what to do or nothing gets done,” When these types of statements are made, what is really going on? Probably a lack of good communication. Becoming a family caregiver is on-the-job training. We aren’t born with this set of skills. We need some help and training.

It isn’t always the husbands that are not good caregivers. Sometimes, wives or partners are not good caregivers either. Do you feel like you’re doing all the work and your partner isn’t pulling their weight? It’s not uncommon for one spouse to take on the role of caregiver when the other is sick, disabled, or has a form of dementia.  However, it can be a challenging and overwhelming task with some anger and frustration thrown in for the family caregiver and the care receiver.  

I know, sometimes the care receiver is a pain in the ass. They won’t do what they are told and you are pissed because some of their life choices brought this on. That is another story.

Being a caregiver or a care partner for a spouse can be emotionally, mentally, and physically draining. It’s a role that requires a lot of patience, compassion, and understanding. Unfortunately, not all spouses are cut out for the job. Your husband may be well-intentioned, but if he’s not a good caregiver, it can have negative consequences for both of you. It’s important to recognize the signs that your husband may not be up to the task and take steps to address the issue. You may need to get help.

Understanding Caregiver Roles

Not everyone has the ability to be a caregiver, much less be a good caregiver. It is much easier to be a helper. That role lasts for a little while. It will become more demanding, time-consuming, and more technical. Yes, you will have to learn new skills to do things safely.

Duties of a Good Caregiver

A good caregiver should be able to provide physical, emotional, and social support to the person they are caring for. Some of the duties of a good caregiver include:

  • Assisting with personal care, such as bathing, grooming, and dressing
  • Helping with mobility and transferring
  • Administering medications and managing medical appointments
  • Preparing meals and ensuring proper nutrition
  • Providing companionship and emotional support
  • Keeping the home clean and safe
  • Monitoring and reporting any changes in health or behavior
  • Advocating for the person they are caring for

As a caregiver, it is important to prioritize the needs of the person you are caring for and provide care with respect and dignity. It is also important to communicate effectively with the person you are caring for and their healthcare team to ensure the best possible care. 

Defining Neglect in Caregiving

Neglect in caregiving can be defined as a failure to provide the necessary care and support to the person you are caring for. Neglect can take many forms, including:

  • Failure to provide adequate food, water, or medication
  • Failure to provide proper hygiene and personal care
  • Failure to provide a safe and clean-living environment
  • Failure to provide emotional support and companionship

Neglect can have serious consequences for the person you are caring for, including physical harm, emotional distress, and a decline in overall health. As a caregiver, it is important to recognize the signs of neglect and take steps to prevent it from happening.

Communicating with Your Husband

As a care receiver, it’s important to communicate with your husband about your concerns and expectations. This will help ensure that you’re both on the same page and working together to provide the best possible care. Some of you will need to learn to be better communicators. If emotions are high and tense, it will be better to set a time to have a discussion when all involved are able to maintain their composure while tackling the issue at hand. Yes, I said issue, singular. Let’s have one thing at a time to handle. Just because your husband is the primary caregiver does not mean that he is your only care giver.

Expressing Your Concerns

It’s important to express your concerns to your husband in a clear and respectful manner. Start by identifying specific issues that you’re having and how they’re impacting your day-to-day needs.  Understand that your husband or partner may be feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, or maybe struggling to balance caregiving with other responsibilities. Caring for someone is hard. Receiving care is hard, too.

When you’re talking to your husband, try to use “I” statements instead of “you” statements. This will help avoid blame and keep the conversation focused on your feelings and needs. For example, instead of saying “You’re not doing enough to help,” you could say “I’m feeling overwhelmed and could use some more support.” No one is a mind reader and both of you need to be clear and concise when talking to each other.

Setting Expectations

It’s also important to set expectations with your husband about what you need from him as a caregiver. This may include specific tasks that he can help with, such as preparing meals or assisting with bathing and dressing. As the care receiver, it is of utmost importance that you do everything that you can to maintain your own independence. You may also need to discuss boundaries and how you can respect each other’s needs and preferences.

When setting expectations, be clear and specific about what you need, what your care needs are, and why it’s important. You may also want to discuss how you can work together to problem-solve and find solutions when issues arise.

Remember, communication is key when it comes to caregiving. By expressing your concerns and setting expectations with your husband, you can work together to find doable and workable solutions. 

Seeking Professional Help

If you have come to the realization that your husband is not a good caregiver for you or your loved one, it is important to seek professional help. Here are a few options to consider:

Consulting a Therapist

A therapist can provide you with a safe and confidential space to express your feelings and concerns about your husband’s caregiving abilities. They can help you work through any emotional challenges you may be facing and provide you with coping strategies to deal with the situation. A therapist can also help you and your husband work through any communication issues that may be contributing to the problem. I highly recommend talk therapy.

Reaching Out to Support Groups

Joining a support group can provide you with a sense of community and understanding. You can connect with other caregivers who may be going through similar situations and share your experiences. Support groups can also provide you with valuable resources and information on how to best care for your loved one.

It is important to remember that seeking professional help does not mean that you are giving up on your husband or your relationship. It simply means that you are taking steps to ensure that you and your loved one receive the best care possible. Don’t wait until it is too late and everyone has hurt feelings and is madder than dammit. You may wind up in divorce court.

Self-Care for You

Being a caregiver can be a challenging and stressful experience. It’s important to remember that taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your wife. In this section, we will discuss some self-care tips that can help you manage stress and find personal support.

Managing Stress

  • Take breaks: Make sure to take breaks throughout the day to do something you enjoy, like reading a book or taking a walk.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: Deep breathing, meditation, and yoga are all great ways to reduce stress.
  • Get enough sleep: Make sure to get enough sleep each night to help you feel rested and refreshed.
  • Exercise: Regular exercise can help reduce stress and improve your overall health.

Finding Personal Support

It’s important to have a support system in place to help you through the challenges of caregiving. Here are some ways to find personal support:

  • Join a support group: Joining a support group for caregivers can be a great way to connect with others who are going through similar experiences. There are some men-only groups in Knoxville and Maryville
  • Talk to a friend or family member: Talking to a friend or family member about your feelings can help you feel less alone.
  • Seek professional help: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider talking to a therapist or counselor.

Remember, taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your wife. By managing stress and finding personal support, you can better care for yourself and your wife.

Legal Considerations

If you are in a situation where your husband is not able to provide adequate care, it’s important to understand your legal rights and options. In this section, we will cover two main sub-sections: Understanding Your Rights and Considering Legal Action.

Understanding Your Rights

As a caregiver, you have certain rights that are protected by law. These rights include:

  • The right to access information about your loved one’s medical condition and treatment options.
  • The right to make decisions about your loved one’s medical care, as long as they are unable to make those decisions for themselves.
  • The right to be involved in the development of your loved one’s care plan.
  • The right to receive support and training to help you provide care.

It’s important to understand these rights and how they apply to your situation. If you feel that your rights are being violated, it may be necessary to take legal action.

Considering Legal Action

If you are considering legal action, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, it’s important to gather evidence to support your case. This may include medical records, witness statements, and other documentation.

Second, you should consider working with an attorney who has experience in elder law and caregiving issues. An attorney can help you understand your legal options and guide you through the process.

Legal action can be a difficult and stressful process, but it may be necessary to protect your rights and the rights of your loved one. If you are considering legal action, it’s important to weigh the potential benefits and risks carefully.


In conclusion, being a spousal caregiver can be a challenging and overwhelming experience. It is important to recognize when the caregiving responsibilities are becoming too risky and you need to seek outside help. Signs of caregiver strain can include physical symptoms like headaches, body aches, and abdominal discomfort, as well as feeling isolated from friends and family.

It is also important to remember that being a caregiver does not mean that you have to do everything alone. You can ask for help from family members, friends, or professional caregivers. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support when you need it.

If you are feeling resentful or overwhelmed by your caregiving responsibilities, it is important to address these feelings and find ways to cope. This may include taking breaks, practicing self-care, and seeking counseling or therapy.

Remember that being a spousal caregiver is not easy, and it is okay to feel frustrated or overwhelmed at times. But with the right support and resources, you can continue to provide care for your loved one while also taking care of yourself.