Paul found ways to look after his own health
It’s not easy caring for his wife, but Paul has found ways to look after his own health and wellbeing to feel well and carry on caring.
Paul (aged 65) is retired and has cared for his wife, Mary (aged 63), for over a year now, since she suffered from a serious stroke. Mary is still recovering and although she can do some things herself, caring for Mary takes up most of Paul’s time and energy.
Paul occasionally goes out for half an hour, yet he is always rushing back and often feels guilty for leaving Mary in the first place.
Once a week, he goes to the gym, to do some light cardio exercises before Mary wakes up. It gives Paul a way to release his emotions and gives him the strength to carry on. He’s always home in time to make Mary her morning cup of tea.
Like many people, if Mary’s having a bad day her needs come first and Paul can’t always do the things he’d love to do. At times he wants to run away, he feels resentful towards Mary and wonders what life would be like if she hadn’t recovered. A thought like this leads to guilt and upset because Paul’s never been a selfish man, he’s simply trying to do the best he can in a situation he didn’t expect to be in.
Like carers do, Paul does what he can to pick himself up and carry on, usually in the evening when Coronation Street is on or Mary’s gone to bed. He’ll go upstairs to listen to his favourite music – and if only for a short while, he’s in the moment, not thinking about it all, as his favourite songs play out through the speakers.
Most day’s Paul is often busy with appointments, chores and making meals. It’s not always easy to eat well but swapping out white bread and rice is something he found easy enough to do. He loves chocolate but knows when it’s in the fridge - it’s gone! Buying it as a treat is his next step.
We asked Paul what advice he would give to you: “In my mind, her needs are more important, but you’ve got your life to lead as well and that doesn’t mean you don’t care. Find something you enjoy, that works for you, even if it’s just for 10-minutes.”