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How does caring impact relationships?

Being an unpaid carer can have a profound effect on relationships. It can build a deeper understanding of what someone is going through, bringing you closer together with the person you are caring for and those around you as you navigate challenges together.

It can also put strain on relationships. The added responsibilities, changes in dynamics, and the physical and emotional demands of being a carer can lead to stress, fatigue, and even resentment. It can also alter the nature of your relationships, especially in situations where role reversal occurs, like a child caring for a parent or a spouse caring for their partner.

Let’s think about a scenario where a parent is caring for a child with additional needs for example. When a parent, or both parents, cares for their child with additional needs it can place extra stress in the relationship. Fatigue and stress can have the couple distance from each other as their attention is focused on the child. There may also be changes in the way one particular parent acts towards a child after a formal diagnosis. Sometimes a parent may give more leeway for the child’s behaviour, others may restrict the child’s actions more than they typically would.

The time and energy required being a carer can also make it difficult to maintain other relationships, leading to feelings of isolation or disconnection. It’s also worth noting that others, outside the immediate relationship, may struggle to understand the pressures and demands the carer is facing.

It’s important to remember that these impacts vary widely, reflecting the diversity of individuals and their unique circumstances.

Reaching out for support, maintaining open communication, and prioritising self-care are key to managing these impacts and maintaining healthy relationships.

You may have noticed that someone in your life has recently taken on the caring role. Consider using our range of conversation cards to start having a discussion about how it is impacting their life and if they should be seeking support.

If you are a carer yourself, the Carers WA team can help you talk through the situation and explore services that can support you to care for your loved one. To find out more call 1300 377 277 or complete a registration form here.