It’s difficult to maintain healthy relationships with other family members when you’ve committed to caring for another loved one. After all, there are only 24 hours per day, and you can only spread yourself so thin. This can lead to additional stress, misunderstandings, and hurt feelings.
Communication is key to avoiding this issue while caring for a loved one. It means having conversations that may be uncomfortable but allow the opportunity to share feelings, air grievances, and ultimately reinforce the love you have for each other.
Opening Up a Courageous Conversation While Caring for a Loved One
The first thing to know is that you don’t always have to approach these conversations in a formal way. Small talk over dinner can suffice, for example. It should not, however, be an immediate response to a stress-inducing incident. Attempt to discuss an issue before the stress has a chance to build up to an explosive level (or after you’ve had the chance to settle down).
Consider this example of a courageous conversation. Your teenage daughter is feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed having friends over because of the dementia-related behaviors of your elderly mother. Begin with this quick assessment to gauge the answers for yourself as well as your teen:
- What would we like one another to know?
- What goals do we want to accomplish from this conversation?
- What are each of us thinking and feeling?
- What do we have to give and receive?
- What do we need from one another?
Include in your assessment the feelings of the person in your care as well. Take special care to consider what Mom would have wanted for you and your daughter before the cognitive decline set in.
With this particular framework in mind, be as honest, open, and authentic as possible. Listen to each other’s perspective respectfully, offer empathy and understanding, and work together to create a viable solution.
Is It Better Left Unsaid?
It’s natural to feel as though it’s easier to sweep some topics under the rug rather than upsetting a family member with a tough conversation. And undoubtedly, situations may arise that are best resolved through another means, such as by talking with a professional therapist to unravel your thoughts and feelings before approaching someone else with them. In most cases, however, nothing beats honest, open communication to allow you and the people you care about to better understand one another.
Let a Home Sweet Home In-Home Care caregiver help you carve out time for the conversations you need with other family members by providing skilled, professional in-home care for the older adult you love. Contact us at (866) 229-2505 for more information regarding our home care in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, St. Joseph, and the surrounding areas.