Navigating Difficult Family Dynamics as a Family Caregiver
When caregiving for a family member, it can be challenging not to let difficult family dynamics get in the way. For people who have been brought up by caring parents who took care of all their needs, providing the same degree of care may just be second nature. But what if you’ve been negatively affected by childhood experiences, determined to stay away from problematic family relations later in life, and then end up going back to provide for them in a time of need?
Set emotional boundaries. It’s possible to offer compassionate home care while staying emotionally detached. Visualize caring for the needs of someone you’d never met, and attempt to hold that mindset with a difficult member of the family, striving to keep personal feelings and hurts out of the equation while meeting his / her care needs with compassion.
Try to separate the past from the present. While your family member might have demonstrated a pattern of causing you anguish in past times, perhaps with furious outbursts or belittling comments, it is critical to separate that pain from current struggles. For instance, someone with Alzheimer’s may go through a stage of aggressive behavior, which can be a hallmark challenge of this disease, instead of a continuation of parenting mistakes.
Change your expectations. Some family members move into a caregiving role with the aim of changing the course of a relationship, thinking that if perhaps they forget about past hurts and offer the best possible care, the individual will soon be converted into someone caring, kind and respectful after a lifetime of challenges. The truth is, story book endings are few and far between. Keeping expected results realistic may help lessen possible future disappointments.
First and foremost, recognize that no one has to feel “stuck” in taking care of a challenging family member. The professional Alaska home health care team at Midnight Sun Home Care is fully trained, experienced, and equipped to provide the highly skilled and compassionate care which brings family caregivers peace of mind. Some of the numerous ways we are able to help include:
Personal care assistance, such as with bathing, getting dressed, and using the toilet
Keeping the home environment neat and tidy
Providing transportation to health appointments as well as other outings