Families generally come together in times of crisis, but not all manage the situation well or over the long-term. Here are some suggestions for working together as a family to address caregiving issues.
“Family is just accident.... They don't mean to get on your nerves. They don't even mean to be your family, they just are.” -- Marsha Norman
Caregiving with family Caregiving teams are often made up of siblings or other relatives. Sometimes it’s tough to work together to care for your older adult. However, your family can become a source of support rather than stress. Family communications can be challenging and usually carry a lifetime of emotional baggage. Learn how to manage these family dynamics so you can get the support you need. 4 tips for successful family conversations
- Align yourselves around common goals
- Agree on the common goal to keep your older adult as safe, happy, and comfortable as possible.
- Agree that you’ll all do your best to keep anyone from burning out or becoming ill as a result of taking on too much.
- Speak your mind politely
- Speak up in a calm manner before you become resentful or angry.
- Don’t let things fester until you explode in a angry, non-productive conversation.
- Don’t play the blame game
- Focus on sharing your feelings and needs.
- Avoid placing blame or making generalizations such as “you always” or “you never.”
- Let old hurts go
- Do your best to accept or move past old arguments.
- Though someone may have hurt you in the past, it’s now time to focus on moving forward together for the sake of your older adult’s care.
When to seek outside help Some caregiving family dynamics are overloaded with complexities and conflicts. If reasonable communication just isn’t working, it may be time to bring in an outside expert. Sometimes, an impartial 3rd party can “break through” to family members in ways that you cannot. Doctors, elder law attorneys, geriatric care managers, and social workers are experts who can help the family understand your older adult’s needs and the available options to fulfill them. Next Step >See all 8 articles in the Caregiver Beginner’s Guide series By Connie Chow, Contributing Writer and Founder of DailyCaringImage: She Knows
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