How to Overcome Family Dynamics in Caring for Elderly Parents
If you want to see a family that has unending patience with each other, stays together through any situation and has unconditional love for each other, you’ll want to watch reruns of The Waltons. But if your family members are like most, there’s definitely some degree of dysfunction, some lingering stubborn sibling rivalry, and in many cases a little residual competition to be Mom’s and Dad’s favorite. These sorts of family dynamics can be aggravated when caring for elderly parents with family members, resulting in the resurfacing of old childhood issues.
Clinical psychologist Craig Grether shares, “When there is a family crisis with a parent, the adult children, no matter how educated they are, no matter how successful, with a variety of life experiences, they regress to the same dynamic of whatever was going on when they were 7, 8, 10, 12 years old.”
The reality is, approximately 40% of family caregivers are experiencing significant family disputes, and 65% feel care needs for elderly parents end up being unequally distributed among siblings. Disagreement commonly occurs whenever there’s a notion that one family member isn’t pulling his or her weight in terms of meeting the proper care demands of an older family member – reigniting any earlier family dynamic problems that until now may seem to have been hidden. With family caregivers at risk for such challenges as depression, alcohol or other substance abuse, sleep loss, and career pressures, it’s easy to understand how rapidly tempers can surface between family members.
So, just how can members of the family come together and make a plan of care that’s fair to all? The conclusion: there are times when it’s just not attainable, and it’s necessary to come to a place of acceptance that your younger brother might not be equipped, for whatever reason, to handle caring for Dad at the level you’d like. Letting go of preconceived expectations and also any feelings of resentment is essential to gaining peace for yourself and to be able to focus on providing the best care for your senior loved one.
Regardless of your family’s dynamics, Endeavor Home Care’s San Diego caregivers are on hand to supply a regular, trustworthy resource to ensure that all care requirements are fully fulfilled at all times. We work together with family members to help fill in the gaps in caregiving, enabling them to focus on spending quality time together and alleviating the anxiety often associated with meeting the everyday needs of elderly parents. Contact us at (480) 535-6000 or review our full service area to learn more.