Oct 302013

Helpful Tips for Dealing Better with Family Members

There are times, as caregivers, when you will have to deal with non-caregiving family members and relatives of the one for whom you care. Now, we know that these people are always going to be helpful and supportive of our caregiving, and will never be critical, right? Right.

So, how do we deal with family members in these situations?

Here are some basic tips.

· Turn the criticism around, and ask the critical person how they would handle the situation. I don’t mean that you should be defensive or harsh, not; “Oh yeah? So what would you do?” No, just an acknowledgement and question such as; “I understand your concern, and share it with you, do you have any ideas about how I should handle this in the future?”

· Put yourself in their place. I know, I know, you’re far too reasonable and considerate to think the way that critical family thinks, but give it a try. They are concerned, and are likely to be frustrated over not knowing what to do or say to address their concerns. You can understand that they’re being a bit harsh with their words. Remember that, no matter how unreasonable they are, telling them off or blowing a gasket and telling them to take a hike is not going to help either of you. They will probably go around saying rotten things about you, and you will probably, because you are a caring and conscientious person, feel awfully bad about having done so.

· Go easy on yourself. You know that you are doing your best in a difficult situation. Pounding your head against a wall, or otherwise beating yourself over the head, is not going to be helpful. If you need, take a moment and excuse yourself for a brief, private rant with God or the Universe; take a few deep breaths; then, put a drop of essential oil such as Lemon, Lavender, Cedarwood,  “Peace and Calming” or “Forgiveness”  oil from Young Living in the palms of your hands, cup over your nose and inhale. Or, you might choose to follow this advise from a Naval Handbook: “When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.” Once it’s out of your system, you can deal with the issue calmly. (For me, essential oils worked the best.)

One or more of these three simple things should help you through the situation, and will ultimately help the critical family member through the situation as well, so that you can all go back to doing the right things for the person under your care.

With Gratitude and Love Margarete de Gaston