The Well Spouse(tm) Association offers peer support to current or former spousal caregivers -- husbands, wives or partners of people with chronic illness and/or disability. As such our goal is to help spousal caregivers offer the best care and support they can to their ill spouse. Where disease orgs offer tips and tricks for caregivers, we offer them motivation -- the glue that helps each one stick to their own personal mission to promote the help of their ill spouse, by paying attention to their own physical, mental and emotional health. And because the intimacy relationship is so much stronger than other family relationship, spousal caregivers need an organization especially for them -- and their ill spouses, friends and family can help the cause of promoting family health for both members of the couple, by urging the spousal caregiver to join the Well Spouse(tm) Association.
Prior to finding the WSA family I was a poster child for clinical depression. I barely managed to make it through each day – self-medicating, sleeping , withdrawing from the world that I felt had treated me unfairly. I was incapable of happiness and lived only to make it through the next medical crisis. I cared so much for my beloved wife that I ignored my own health concerns – eating too much, ignoring the need to have a hip replacement because I could not be spared from caregiving. Well Spouse for me is a place where everyone “gets it”, where there are no judgments, - just support. A family that cares about each other and helps us over the all too frequent rough spots in ways our own children, parents and siblings cannot. This place goes beyond friendship and speaks of acceptance and support. In fact, we even supply some hard-learned medical advice, how to navigate the ‘systems’, where to get help and just a plain old shoulder to cry on.
The Well Spouse Association is a true lifeline for those caring for spouses with serious chronic illnesses. Others do not seem to understand how overwhelmed and isolated we can become, but our peers "get it". Through support groups and an online forum, we offer practical advice and emotional support to one another.
Right after my marriage 10 years ago, my husband developed a neurodegenerative condition which by now has rendered him physically and mentally disabled in almost every way. The marriage has been a very sad, very difficult one for me; but I love my husband and want to care for him at home. The Well Spouse Association has made all the difference to me since I joined about 4 years ago. I no longer feel alone and isolated from the world, as I have made so many friends from our local support group who share and understand my horrific challenges. Well Spouse has also given me an outlet for expression in articles I write for their newsletter and website. As a Board member, I feel like I am a contributing member of society, even though I am unable to work because of my husband's care needs.
Being a caregiver to a spouse with a chronic illness means saying goodbye to your hopes and dreams for the future. It often means a loss of intimacy, depression, isolation, and financial devastation. I know of no other organization that provides the kind of support and validation that the WSA does to spousal caregivers. Members of the WSA will find kindred spirits within their local support groups, through the WSA on line forum, and in the quarterly newsletter "Mainstay." The people who are a part of this wonderful organization "get it" like no else can.
The Well Spouse Association saved my life. I was overwhelmed until I found this support group of other spouses who understood where I was coming from without much explanation from me. I knew I was not alone. In addition to telling my story, I comforted others as they comforted me. I learned a lot about what to expect in my situation and how others deal with those situations. Spouses face special burdens such as the loss of their partner, loss of the loved one, loss of their financial security and many more losses. These each are greived and must be dealt with. The Well Spouse Association has provided me with the strength to carry on with my life's work which is now caregiving.