Any time you dedicate so much time to caring for a senior member of the family, it is natural for other relationships to take a back seat. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day, and you can only spread yourself so thin. This may result in additional stress, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings.
The answer to overcoming this obstacle is communication. This means having hard conversations while caregiving, which may be uncomfortable but allow the opportunity to air grievances, share feelings, and ultimately reinforce the love you have for each other.
Having Hard Conversations While Caregiving
First, understand that a planned, formal meeting is not necessary for a conversation to be effective. It can be a quick chat while waiting for the coffee to brew. It should not, however, be a triggered response to a stress-inducing incident. Plan to talk about a concern before the stress has an opportunity to build up to an explosive level (or when you’ve had the opportunity to settle down).
Here is an example scenario and how to include a courageous conversation. Your teenage daughter is feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable bringing friends over because of the dementia-related behaviors of your elderly parent. Begin with this brief assessment to gauge the answers for yourself along with your teen:
- What do we need from each other?
- What goals do we wish to accomplish from this conversation?
- What do we have to give and receive?
- What do we want each other to know?
- What exactly are each of us feeling and thinking?
Include in your assessment the feelings of the individual in your care as well. In particular, prior to the cognitive decline, determine what your mom would want for you personally 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 empathy and understanding, and collaborate to create a viable solution.
Is It Better Left Unsaid?
You might feel as though it’s simpler to maintain status quo than to risk upsetting a family member by initiating a challenging conversation. And certainly, situations may arise that are best resolved through another means, like speaking 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 open, honest communication to allow you and those you care about to better understand one another.
Let a Responsive Home Care caregiver help you carve out time for the conversations you need with other members of the family by providing skilled, professional in-home care for the person you love. Contact us at (954) 486-6440 for more information regarding our home care in Pompano Beach, Coral Springs, Fort Lauderdale, and the surrounding areas.