Tips to Resolve Family Tensions That Result from Caregiving

Better

Caregiving for a loved one is a time consuming and often thankless job – but because we make sacrifices for the ones we love, we commit to this role without thinking twice. Because taking on caregiving can be a demanding job, this can often cause negative feelings and emotions from/with family members. The time needed to care for a loved one sometimes leaves other family members, such as kids or a spouse, feeling neglected or frustrated. We talked to caregivers and found out these helpful tips for how to make the situation better. Check them out:

Talk about it with your loved ones

Balancing many “jobs” is hard and talking about it often eases the stress about how much time is needed to care for someone outside of your immediate family. When you get this frustration out in the open and talk through it, it allows for each family member to feel heard, opening the lines of communication to talk through these type of topics in the future. It’s always better to use, “I feel” messages, such as “I feel burnt out,” or “I feel overwhelmed by everything,” rather than “You blaming,” such as “You never help out,” or “You’re never around.”If possible, spread the responsibility out – in order to achieve more “balance” between family life and caregiving, sometimes it helps to reach out to siblings or other family members and ask for help. Oftentimes, they’ll be happy to lend a hand and if the responsibilities can be split up, it will make caregiving easier on everyone involved. For example, maybe you can take your father to the doctor on Wednesday, but your brother can help with the follow up appointment and picking up your father’s medication from the local pharmacy. A little help goes a long way.

If possible, spread the responsibility out.

In order to achieve more “balance” between family life and caregiving, sometimes it helps to reach out to siblings or other family members and ask for help. Oftentimes, they’ll be happy to lend a hand and if the responsibilities can be split up, it will make caregiving easier on everyone involved. For example, maybe you can take your father to the doctor on Wednesday, but your brother can help with the follow-up appointment and picking up your father’s medication from the local pharmacy. A little help goes a long way.

Ask for outside help

Sometimes we don’t have family members that are able to help with caregiving for one reason or another. If this is the case for you, reach out and ask for outside help. You’d be surprised how many resources–including free ones–you can find in your community that can help with caring for someone you are close to. A good website to check out is: Caring.com and reach out to your Area Agency on Aging for free federal services.

Seek out a support group

There are others who know what you’re going through. Caregivers can be a great resource and support network for one another.

Demand more from your loved one’s doctor’s office

Primary care as we age becomes even more important and that’s why you deserve support from your loved one’s primary care team. That relationship with their doctor could make the difference. Additionally, primary care doctor’s offices are adding more benefits to their care for patients and caregivers, like having a Behavioral Health Specialist, Health Coach or Case Manager on staff. Whether that’s helping with paperwork, coordinating transportation, or just listening when you need to feel heard, you are all part of the same team, so demand more!

Take Care of Yourself!

Did you know that being a caregiver means that you are putting your own health at risk? It can be tempting to put off your own health when you’re caring for those you love. Make sure to make time for socializing with friends, your own health care appointments, going on vacation and enjoying your favorite hobbies. These things will refresh you so that you can provide the best care for your loved one.

To learn more about caregiving and see how Iora Primary Care supports caregivers, check out this article from AAFP News.

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