Family dynamics have a huge impact on a caregiver’s outlook. For those who have been raised by loving parents who provided for all of their needs, offering the same level of care may simply be second nature. But what if you’ve been scarred by childhood experiences, determined to distance yourself from difficult family members later in life, only to find yourself returning to provide for them in a time of need?
AARP offers some helpful tips for family caregivers who want to take steps to overcome old wounds for the sake of providing care:
- Set emotional boundaries. It’s possible to provide compassionate care while remaining emotionally detached. Imagine taking care of the needs of someone you’d never met, and try to keep that mindset with a difficult family member, striving to keep personal feelings and hurts out of the equation while meeting his or her care needs with compassion.
- Separate yesterday from today. While your family member may have displayed a pattern of causing you pain in the past, perhaps with angry outbursts or belittling comments, it’s important to separate that pain from present day struggles. For instance, someone with Alzheimer’s may go through a stage of aggressive behavior, which is a hallmark challenge of the disease, rather than a continuation of parenting mistakes.
- Change your expectations. Some family members step into a caregiving role with the goal of changing the course of a relationship, thinking that if only they let go of past hurts and provide the very best possible care, the person will be transformed into someone loving, kind and considerate after a lifetime of challenges. The truth is, fairy tale endings are few and far between. Keeping expectations realistic helps reduce potential future disappointments.
Most importantly, understand that no one needs to feel “stuck” in caring for a difficult family member. The professional care team at North River Home Care is fully trained, experienced, and equipped to provide the highly skilled and compassionate care that allows family members peace of mind. Some of the many ways we can help include:
- Personal care assistance, such as with bathing, dressing, and using the restroom
- Preparing meals
- Keeping the home environment clean and organized
- Running errands
- Providing transportation to and from medical appointments and other outings
- And more
Contact us online or call us at 781.659.1366 for a free in-home assessment and to discover a senior care solution that will work for your family.