Keeping families focused on the caregiving task at hand is paramount to optimal health outcomes and quality of life for the loved ones for whom they are caring. This is not a simple task when often complex family history and dynamics are also at play. There are however steps to take when diffusing family conflict over caregiving becomes a reality.
Diffusing Family Conflict Over Caregiving: Focus on the goal.
Try to remember what the current and pressing priority is. Usually, this will be making certain your loved one is safe and healthy, and putting the resources in place to make this happen. I found that simply reminding family members this by asking the question “Is he/she safe, healthy and happy?” was effective at redirecting individuals who tended to get distracted by old dynamics or issues that while valid, were not pertinent to the immediate task at hand. The alska connected caregiving solution is a valuable tool to help families communicate clearly and effectively when managing the care of a loved one. Updates can be entered once rather than repeating the same information over and over to different family members which can be taxing and the risk of miscommunication is high.
Be realistic about your loved one’s capabilities.
It is in no way productive to bring up anger or deep-seeded issues to a loved one who is suffering from dementia or experiencing major life transitions. Unfortunately, this type of crisis is exactly what can bring these issues to the surface. Addressing caregiving needs for an elderly parent or family member who may not have done things perfectly or even caused you harm, can certainly be challenging, but still need to be accomplished. If you feel you are not able to put these issues aside, it is probably best to put somebody else in the primary caregiving role. This is a time when a professional advocate, if available, can be of great use. An individual who has no shared family history is better able to provide non-biased advocacy and keep everyone focused on the well-being of the individual needing care.
This is a time where seeking out guidance can be imperative. If family dynamics are very complex do not be hesitant to seek out professional assistance from a therapist or counselor. They can facilitate real and productive conversations and give you tools to build the bridges necessary to rally for the cause of making certain your loved ones’ needs are met. There are also some great books written to mend family dynamics including:
- Peacemaking for Families by Ken Sande and Tom Raabe
- Family Conflict; Managing the Unexpected by Heather Canary and Daniel Canary
- Everything is Workable; A Zen Approach to Conflict Resolution by Diane Musho Hamilton
Embrace unexpected gifts in the process.
Time and time again, families mend wounds and overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles in the process of coming together for a loved one. The perspective shift can be truly unexpected and can even support a new family dynamic to continue once the crisis has subsided.