As a family caregiver, you may find yourself dealing with opposing views from distant family. You have relatives who only see your parents every few years, and they're criticizing how you care for your mom and dad. You're stressed enough, and their constant badgering is only making it worse. If that happens, is it okay to distance yourself?
Look at the Relationships
In one family, the parent with Alzheimer's lived on the other side of the globe as his siblings. Those siblings only saw each other about once every decade. They talked on the phone a few times a year.
When the siblings learned their brother had Alzheimer's and were declining, they were suddenly bombarding the family caregivers with advice and demands. They started requesting daily updates. The family caregivers updated and received responses that the siblings only want to know about happy news and pictures of their brother smiling.
The family caregivers became frustrated as their father was depressed and hated having his picture taken. He got agitated if they did it anyway. Those distant siblings weren't happy and kept insisting on happy pictures. Things got heated with the siblings calling the family caregivers selfish and rude.
When the family caregivers said that they were welcome to visit and experience his moods personally, the siblings balked and came up with excuses. At that point, it made sense for the caregivers to distance themselves. They stopped giving daily reports and sent monthly postcards with updates instead.
Distancing Isn't Easy
Distancing yourself from family won't be easy. You need to still have a strong support team in place, but it is okay to remain civil. If people who are not actively in your parent's life tell you that you're doing things wrong, it's okay to distance yourself.
Being a family caregiver is hard. Some people have a higher tolerance for things than others, but everyone will feel the stress at some point. If you need to take a break from people, it's okay. The break doesn't have to be forever, but it should be long enough to be able to focus on yourself for a while.
You need to focus on self-care. Don't spend so much time taking care of others or putting others first that you neglect yourself. An elder care aide makes it possible to take breaks to see friends or have a night out with a significant other. Schedule respite care by calling an elder care agency.
If you or an aging loved one is considering elder care in Centennial, CO, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare Denver. Call today: (303) 756-9322.