Although serving as an informal caregiver for an aging family member is highly rewarding, it also presents unique relationship challenges. For example, taking care of the same parent or grandparent who raised you can be confusing and frustrating when those roles are reversed. If those negative feelings are allowed to persist they can complicate the caregiving process enough to reduce your loved one’s quality of life. Here are some ways to deal with role reversal in caregiving for a family member while preserving your relationship.
Role Reversal Challenges Caregivers Face
For reasons like pride, dignity and stubbornness many elderly adults are hesitant to accept care from younger family members. If you currently find yourself in a role reversal caregiving relationship here are some signs that it’s starting to get unhealthy:
- You are both getting impatient with one another.
- You sometimes speak to your loved one in a patronizing or condescending tone.
- You’ve started making important decisions on your senior’s behalf without consulting them first because you decided that it’s “for the best”.
- You find yourselves belittling one another.
- You are making your loved one feel bad because they have-to depend on you for activities of daily living (ADLs) like bathing, toileting or feeding.
If changes aren’t made these unhealthy behaviors will cause negative feelings that could permanently damage your relationship. More importantly, not getting the care they deserve can jeopardize your loved one’s independence. As their caregiver, dealing with relationship issues can cause or exacerbate caregiver stress.
Keeping the Caregiving Relationship Positive
Your goal as a caregiver should be keeping the relationship positive so that you can provide the level of care your aging loved one deserves. Here’s how to make it happen:
Be frank with one another
The mental aspect of switching roles with a family member can be overwhelming, especially at first. Accepting the fact that an adult who once took care of you growing up has become so vulnerable and dependent can be unsettling. Since most older adults don’t want to be a burden to their loved ones, many battle low self-esteem and depression as a result.
For all these reasons it’s essential to communicate openly and honestly with one another at all times. Frankly discussing expectations and hashing out differences up front will help eliminate role confusion. Being honest and frank can bring the two of your closer together.
Be patient with them
In all likelihood your family member is going to be resistant at first. Making threats, raising your voice or getting frustrated with them won’t help the situation. On the other hand, calmly explain why you feel the need to assist them and how much they mean to you. Doing this will help overcome any concerns they might have about your motives.
Respect their wishes
Being a caregiver is a big responsibility. Sometimes you’re placed in the role of making key decisions for an elder who did the same for you when you were a child. As a decision-maker, you can find yourself managing their finances, coordinating their medical care or handling other important issues.
Always remember to respect your loved one’s wishes while making decisions on their behalf. For example, they may still insist on bathing themselves even after falling in the tub a couple times. Respectfully share your concerns without treating them like a child. Try to find ways to improve bathroom safety without talking down to your loved one in the process.
An Extended Family in Your Loved One’s Home
When you need to take a well-deserved break from a caregiving relationship contact First In Care and we’ll promptly step in. As a fully licensed home care agency one of our reliable respite caregivers will provide your loved one with the nurturing that they deserve so they can continue aging comfortably in place right where they want to be. Our agency uses a proven caregiving formula that’s designed to maintain your senior’s quality of life, dignity and independence.
While serving as an extended family in the home, our well-trained caregivers can deliver services including light housekeeping, personal care, dementia care, companionship care, medication reminders, and even live-in and 24-hour care. For your added convenience all our home care services can be individually personalized into an affordable package when and where you need them! To learn more about First In Care now, or to schedule an initial consultation for a senior in Manatee County, FL, today, please visit us at: www.firstincare.com!