The holiday season is a wonderful time for families to reconnect and spend quality time together, catching up on the ups and downs of life. But for those providing care for a senior loved one, the holidays can also serve as an opportunity for other family members to critique the level of care being provided, which can naturally result in feelings of defensiveness and frustration.
If you find yourself engaging in conversations in which the quality of your caregiving role is being questioned, the following tips, courtesy of the Arizona home health care professionals at Nightingale Homecare, can help:
- Turn the tables. The stress of being on the receiving end of caregiving criticism can be lessened by turning the conversation to how the other person would suggest handling the situation if he or she were in your shoes. You then have the choice of taking the person’s recommendations or not, but either way, the discussion can then turn to a less difficult topic.
- Try active listening. The art of active listening provides the benefit of letting the person speaking to you know that he or she has been heard while also sharing, in a non-confrontational way, how hurtful a particular comment may have been, as the person speaking hears it repeated back. Use “I” statements to share how something made you feel. An example might be a family member stating, “I don’t have time to help with Dad’s care,” with an appropriate response being, “I feel that my time is less valued than yours when you say you don’t have time to help with Dad’s care.”
- Remain assertive. It’s ok to stand up for yourself – politely and maturely, of course – when a critical comment oversteps your boundaries. For instance, if someone accuses you of not caring enough to make sure the senior wears a matching outfit, you can clarify that you do care very much, explaining that the senior insists on wearing particular pieces of clothing and is most comfortable when wearing them.
Providing care for a senior loved one at home is challenging on its own, and additionally stressful when coupled with criticism from others. Partnering with a professional in-home care agency, such as Nightingale Homecare, can help ease the tension for family caregivers by assisting with a full range of senior care services as needed, keeping older adults safe and thriving at home and allowing family members a much-needed break in providing care.
We’d love to talk with you about how our Arizona home health care services can help your senior loved one. Contact us any time at (602) 504-1555 to schedule a free in-home consultation to learn more.
Providing care for a senior loved one is highly rewarding. We’ve seen firsthand how families are able to strengthen bonds and grow closer to each other, learning to value and appreciate each day together as they overcome new challenges related to aging.
At the same time, however, we’re only human, and we naturally have a full range of emotions that come into play during the stresses of caring for a senior loved one. And while many of these feelings are positive, we need to honestly face and assess the emotions we may wish we weren’t experiencing, in order to remain mentally healthy and to be able to provide the highest level of care possible for our loved one.
The Arizona home health care experts at Nightingale Homecare share some of the more common feelings experienced as a result of family caregiving, and how to best cope with them:
- Anger. Taking care of the many needs of an older adult can be challenging, and at times, frustrating, feelings that, if left unchecked, eventually lead to anger. It’s important for family caregivers to allow plenty of time for self-care, to talk with a trusted friend or counselor about frustrations, to get some exercise, take a nap, or any other activities that provide relaxation and rejuvenation.
- Depression. Family caregiving can result in an increased risk for depression, as worries mount over a loved one’s condition or future, or the caregiver becomes isolated from other family and friends. Depression is a very serious condition that requires medical intervention. Talk to your physician if you’re experiencing overwhelming sadness, finding it difficult to sleep or eat healthy, feeling hopeless, or being unable to manage daily activities for yourself or your loved one.
- Guilt. Guilt is so common in family caregivers, who, in spite of giving so much of themselves, feel as though they aren’t doing enough. Changing the internal messages we relay to ourselves can be helpful; rather than, “I’m not doing as much as I should for Mom,” try thinking instead, “I’m doing the best I can.”
To further help you self-assess your level of stress and risk for caregiver burnout, we offer a free caregiver burden checklist. Simply answer the questions as honestly as possible, total your score, and take steps as needed.
Most importantly, remember that no one can do everything alone, and that it’s not a weakness to reach out for help; rather, it takes great strength to know your limitations and to do what it takes to provide the very best care for a senior loved one – and for yourself. And thankfully, it’s as easy as picking up the phone and calling the professional Arizona home health care team at Nightingale Homecare! Our caregivers are fully trained, experienced, compassionate, and ready to partner with you to make sure both you and your senior loved one are healthy and thriving.
Contact us any time at (602) 504-1555.
“It’s my responsibility – this is what families do, and besides, there’s nowhere else to turn.”
Has this or a similar thought crossed your mind when it comes to providing home care for an aging parent? Often, feelings of obligation are the driving force behind family members caring for elderly loved ones. And the other side of the coin is often guilt; if we don’t take on the caregiving role for Mom, what does that say about us? After all, she devoted her life to raising her children; isn’t it then the children’s turn to do the same for their parents?
When someone’s heart is simply not in caregiving, for one of many possible reasons, it’s important to take a step back and re-evaluate available options, rather than begrudgingly trying to handle everything alone. Nightingale Homecare of Phoenix suggests first working through the following questions:
- Am I doing this for the right reasons? Take an honest assessment of your motive in providing care. Is it because you’re the best person suited for the job? Are you closest in proximity? Are you the only family member available?
- Am I taking care of my own needs as well? Are you finding yourself overburdened and on the verge of burnout, unable to take time away for your own wellbeing?
- Is there someone I can share my feelings of ambivalence with? It’s important to find a system of support, whether that’s other family members, close friends, or a counselor or clergy member, to whom you can honestly express your reluctance to provide care.
If the answers to these questions reveal the need to make a change in care, one of these suggestions may help:
- Schedule a family meeting to openly discuss your feelings.
- Work together on a plan that takes into consideration the senior’s best interest, as well as his or her loved ones.
- Set and adhere to boundaries.
- Enlist the help of a professional in-home care agency, such as Nightingale Homecare.
At Nightingale Homecare of Phoenix, we understand how overwhelming it can be for family members to ensure that senior loved ones are safe and well cared for, on top of all the other responsibilities of life, and we’re here to help! Our trusted, experienced care team is adept at helping seniors enhance quality of life, while allowing their loved ones peace of mind in knowing the highest quality care is being provided.
Whether you could benefit from a little respite care to take a much-needed break, or full-time, around-the-clock home care is the best solution, take the first step and contact us at 602-504-1555 for a free in-home assessment or to allow us to answer any questions you may have.