Posted by Rachael Tom
April 20, 2018
Five Tips to Reduce Family Conflict in Caregiving
As a caregiver, you overcome challenges on a daily basis, but one challenge that’s always a bit tricky is family conflict. Whether you are working with a loved one or working with a client who is lucky to have family involved in caregiving, conflicts can arise. Disagreements or tension can bubble up about a loved one’s capabilities and needs or about sharing roles and responsibilities when it comes to providing care. It’s best when everyone can work together but sometimes that’s easier said than done.
Have you experienced family conflict when it comes to home care? Here are a few tips we’ve heard from other caregivers.
Open and Honest Discussions about how responsibilities will be shared is critical. Writing it down can be helpful. For example, write down exactly who will do what during a typical week with your client. Talking things out ahead of time can help manage everyone’s expectations.
Example: My mom is moving to town next week (such a big deal!) and she is a home care client. I spoke with my out of town brother about how to share holidays with my mom. Then I sent him a text detailing what we had agreed upon and he wrote back to confirm. We did this just to confirm the conversation.
Consider organizing regular meetings with family members and the client (with the client’s consent). Offer to arrange a regular time to meet. If everyone can’t meet in person, perhaps someone can join by phone (put them on speaker phone to participate).
Try to resolve minor differences before they become major disputes. Check in early and often with your client and their involved family members.
Make sure everyone one involved can weigh in on a decision. It’s harder to criticize a decision that you helped make.
Sometimes conflicts are inevitable. If you reach a point where you can’t resolve things on your own, call a trusted third party to mediate. Sometimes a neutral perspective can help.
Gratitude is key. Caregiving can be stressful. Make sure to show your gratitude and say thank you when others contribute to caregiving. Expressing gratitude can foster trust and compassion.
Making an effort to avoid and resolve family conflicts is crucial for good caregiving. Families can be a wonderful source of joy, but sometimes hardship is involved. A little bit of effort to create honest and clear communication can reap rewards for all involved.
Sending love from my family to yours!