Family Relationships & Conflict
Family relationships issues and conflict are part of life. Past history—like sibling rivalries or perceived favoritism — carries with us and resurface when caregiving becomes a role. When caregiving becomes a need, conflict happens. Mom and dad experience failing health. We’re afraid of losing them. We disagree about what actions to take. We come together or fall apart. Anxiety, emotional distress and frustration run high. If you are in family relationship and experiencing conflict, you are not alone. Gain confidence that managing conflict is possible. Increase your coping skills. Solutions exist. Real answers are here.
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Do family care receivers experience gaps in the quality of care provided by family caregivers? A common belief is that family caregivers are the best caregivers. Perceptions exist that the relationship between the family caregiver and the family care receiver is of better quality than a relationship with an agency caregiver.
A woman I know is losing her mind; she has a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. However, despite the frustration, anxiety and fear she faces on a daily basis, she remains thankful. Thankful that her family survived the terrors of the concentration camps and was able to journey to the United States. Thankful that she and her husband had a successful tailoring business and raised three children who married and had children.
In our busy world, caregiving can become a complicated task especially when multiple family members are involved. Who will take responsibility for what tasks? Often the majority of the work is delegated to the family member who has the most available time. Caregivers placed in this position feel that this is not always fair and that their brothers, sisters, or other family members take advantage of their availability and generosity. This resentment creeps into family relationships and sometimes results in the need for legal intervention.
The holidays are a time when families come together and gifts are shared. How many of you have childhood memories of not getting what you wanted? Because of this memory you may have been a parent who gave your child everything he or she wanted—and you now realize that giving your child everything may not have been the best course of action because at the age of 50, your child still relies on you not only for advice but for financial support and he or she may still be living in your household.
When families come together in caregiving situations, at family or holiday reunions or when family members interact in the general course of life, there are often past relationship glitches or hurts that remain an underlying current. We so often hear others tell us to “get over it” when discussions of actions that our parents committed years ago come into conversation or when we discuss how relationships with our brothers or sisters are imperfect. Reality is that family relationships are often imperfect and this fact is brought into clear focus when caregiving becomes a family responsibility.
Many adults find themselves raising children and caregiving for aging parents or grandparents. When I was young, my mother was very good about taking me to visit my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other family members who were aging and already in need of care. In many families this activity does not occur because parents feel the need to shield children from sickness and end of life. I attended my grandfather’s funeral when I was 5 year old. Aging family members were a part of my life that I enjoyed, not feared.
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How does the quality of relationships and career success impact the way parents feel about their children? How might support between grown children and parents predict the quality of future caregiving relationships? Is there a link between the perception of success and day to day relationships between parents and adult children?
You or a loved one has mixed emotions about caregiving or needing care. Changes in life result in conflicting feelings about what one should do versus what one may want to do in life. How many times do you think, “I can never get what I want.”? Caregiving, when providing care out of a sense of duty versus a sense of love, may place emotions in a continual tug of war. You may have not been close to a parent or sibling and by virtue of your existence you are called to become the responsible caregiver. You must determine your level of participation and what will be required of your loved one to receive care. If money exists to pay for care this results in a greater number of options versus if no money exists and care through the government program of Medicaid is the only option. Mixed emotions are common in caregiving situations. The following are 10 tips to working through emotionally challenging care situations.
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