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How to Handle Caregiver Criticism

Providing home care for an elderly parent or loved one is an important and selfless but difficult job. Most people do the best they can juggling their own lives with that of their loved one, but they still find themselves facing many hardships. One of those hardships may be criticism, often from another well-meaning loved one. Luckily, there are ways you can handle it without adding stress to an already stressful situation.

1. Discuss It Rationally

Start by discussing the criticism with the person who gave it to you. If you can do it calmly while the two of you are face-to-face, do it. If you need to wait a while or do it via text or email, that is okay, too. Just remember to avoid any sort of name-calling or accusations. Focus on the word “I” instead of “you.” For example, “I feel upset when someone criticizes my caregiving skills.” Ask the person what sort of changes he or she might make or explain why you do the criticized action. No matter what, never discuss it front of your senior loved one. It can cause him or her unnecessary stress and worry.

2. Request Help 

Sometimes, the person who does the criticizing simply wants to be involved. If that is possible, suggest it. Ask the person if he or she would like to be in charge of certain tasks, such as cooking for your loved one or taking him or her to run errands. Just letting the person handle a few tasks may be all he or she really needs to see that you are not doing such a bad job after all, and it can help them feel important.

3. Find an Outlet for Venting

Occasionally, no matter how rational you discuss it or how much you allow the other person to help, he or she will continue to criticize you and there is not much you can do about it. In this case, find an outlet for your stress. Confide in a third party who is not as closely involved with the situation, such as a friend from work, a significant other, or someone in an online forum for hourly or live-in caregivers.

4. Put Yourself in the Other Person’s Shoes

Maybe you just need to step back from the situation and figure out why the person is so critical. Maybe it is a friend of your senior loved one who feels helpless in the situation and does not know how to handle those feelings. Maybe it is a friend, spouse, or child who feels as if you are not spending enough time at home or is even jealous. Consider taking a little time to spend with them or discuss those feelings.

5. Take the High Road 

Finally, always be the bigger person. No matter how stressful the situation is, do not lower yourself to the level of someone who offers constant unwarranted criticism. This may mean leaving the room or even spending extended time away from the person. If you only add to any shouting, meanness, and hatred that might accompany the criticism, you just make the situation worse and lose sight of what is important.

If you could use help meeting your loved one’s care needs or would simply benefit from some time alone, reach out to Home Care Assistance. In addition to hourly and live-in care, we also offer comprehensive Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia care Orlando families count on. For more information on our care services, call a friendly Care Manager at (407) 232-7155.