Most people consider it a privilege to care for a loved one in their time of need. But if a family member decides to critique how the caregiver is performing the role, these new comments and increased concern for their loved one opens the door to conflict. What are some communication tips for caregivers when confronting family members?
Most Common Caregiver Thoughts
Do any of these statements ring familiar for you or a caregiver you know?
- “If they’re so concerned they can just come here and take their turn.”
- “If they think they can do better, they’re welcome to come and try.”
- “Easy for them to say that. They haven’t been living it 24/7 for months.”
- “I’m going to keep my mouth shut and stay focused so I don’t create more conflict when there’s enough anxiety already.”
Communication Tips for Caregivers
Sometimes, those who are most vocal are having the greatest difficulty processing the changes and possible loss of a loved one. It’s more about them than about you. But you won’t know this if you don’t try to engage in conversation.
Relax to Refresh
Have you become more sensitive to comments made because you’re tired, overwhelmed and have difficulty asking for others to step up, even if only for a brief respite?
Would you hear this comment differently if you were rested or had just come back from a vacation?
Try a New Strategy
Even family who are a distance away could call at a specific time, which would allow you to plan a brief errand or just a few moments of personal time.
Or could they fund a few hours of a hired caregiver to provide you respite? Hands-on care is not the only way family can support you.
Ask for Advice
Instead of holding your silence and letting anger settle in, ask them what they would do differently. That question should not be posed as a challenge, but rather expressed with genuine interest in seeing if they have a suggestion that could serve everyone well. Sometimes we get so invested in our caregiving that we lose perspective.
Sort out the Guilt
Could it be that those who are criticizing your efforts could be feeling guilty themselves about not being able to do more? Maybe they’re struggling with the changes they see in your loved one and it comes out in an inappropriate manner. We all process grief and fear differently.
Need to talk to someone?
Laureate Cares, a free program within Laureate Group Senior Communities, helps families through difficult conversations every day. If you need help, contact Laureate Cares at 262-832-7113 for a free, no-obligation consultation, or contact Laureate Cares online here. We’re here to help!