Being a family caregiver to an older loved one can mean that your other relationships have to take a back seat for a while. After all, there are only 24 hours in one day, and you can only spread yourself so thin. This could lead to additional stress, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings.
The best way for family caregivers to get over this hurdle is by effectively communicating. It means having conversations that may be uncomfortable but permit the opportunity to share feelings, air grievances, and ultimately reinforce the love you have for each other.
Initiating Tough Conversations as a Family Caregiver
To start, you don’t need to worry about making the conversation formal. An informal chat over a cup of coffee can work. It should not, however, be a triggered response to a stress-inducing incident. Attempt to talk about an issue before the stress has a chance to build up to an explosive level (or once you’ve had the chance to settle down).
The following is an example of a potentially difficult conversation to have. Your teenage daughter is feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed having friends over because of the dementia-related behaviors of your elderly mother. Begin with this brief assessment to determine the answers for yourself and your daughter:
- What do we need from each other?
- What are each of us thinking and feeling?
- What do we have to give and receive?
- What do we want one another to know?
- What goals do we want to accomplish from this conversation?
Make it a point to consider how the person you care for feels. For example, before the cognitive decline, determine what your mom would want for you as well as your daughter.
With this framework in mind, allow yourself to be honest, authentic, and vulnerable. Listen to each other’s viewpoint respectfully, offer understanding and empathy, and work together to create a viable solution.
Is It Better Left Unsaid?
There may be situations that arise that are best resolved through another means, such as by talking with a professional therapist to unravel your feelings and thoughts before approaching someone else with them. As a general rule of thumb, however, nothing beats honest, open communication to allow you and those you care about to better understand each other.
Let a Golden Harmony caregiver help you carve out time for the conversations you need with other family members by providing experienced, professional in-home care for the person you love. Contact us online or at 919-426-7522 for more information regarding our home care in Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, and the surrounding areas.