Handling Family Conflict While Caregiving
While caring for a loved one, it is not uncommon for some families to experience conflict among the family during the caregiving journey. There can be many reasons why this happens; It could be old grudges or resentments that have begun to creep up into current arguments, or perhaps the family is spread out across the country and some family members feel that they are bearing more of the burden than the others.
Whatever the reason for the conflict, the most important thing to remember is what your true goal is: Making sure your loved one is receiving the care and help that he/she needs.
Here are a few tips on how to handle family conflict while caregiving:
Holding regular family meetings to discuss the care of a loved one can be extremely helpful. Often times, caring for a loved one will have many decisions that need to happen along the way and discussing them once is probably not enough. By meeting with and discussing these topics as a family on a regular basis, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and is continuing to work toward the same goal. This is also a great time for everyone to make the difficult care decisions together.
If the family feels that their loved one is needing to move to a senior living facility, for example, talk through the pros, cons, and financial aspects together so that you can come to a collective decision. Taking everyone’s thoughts and opinions into account will help to eliminate any hard feelings, grudges or resentments along the way. Click here for some additional communication tips for caregivers.
Divide the Labor
If there are several family members involved in a loved one’s care, try to divide up the work. Start by talking it through with one another and try to identify each family members skills and likes. Not all family members will feel that they are able to take on certain tasks and that is ok.
If you have one family member who is uncomfortable with personal care but loves working with numbers, perhaps that family member can take over managing the financials while another family member takes care of grocery shopping or setting up medications. Maybe one family member lives further away from everyone else, but he/she could make phone calls, schedule appointments, etc.
Enlist a Mediator
If the conflict seems to be getting out of control and cannot be resolved among the family, consider hiring a mediator or an outside facilitator. Families can have complicated pasts with one another and in these situations, it is often hard to communicate with each other without overreacting, misinterpreting, or fighting old battles. A mediator can help to provide ideas and resources that the rest of the family may not have thought of or considered.
He/she can also help to remind everyone of the goals that they want to work towards and help the family to get to those goals with less tension along the way. The mediator could be a counselor, a social worker, or another healthcare professional who can step in and provide an unbiased third-party view of the situation.
By Chrissy Schuster, LMSW
If you are caring for a loved one and need some help figuring out the next step, a Cariloop Healthcare Coach would love to walk you and your family through whatever you may be dealing with. Become a member or call 1-844-790-5667 to get started.
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