5 Ways for Caregivers to Weather Criticism from Outside Sources
Family caregiving is more of an art than a science. Most people who take on the challenge of family caregiving do the best that they can under their unique circumstances, yet, they often receive criticism, sadly even from other caregivers. How can family caregivers who are already doing so much for their loved one(s) weather criticism from outsiders about how they provide care?
Research to become Educated and Resourceful
Be careful and seek out trusted information online. Make use of government sites such as aging.gov and the National Institute on Aging. Large non-profit disease related sites, such as the Alzheimer’s Association, are excellent. Other good choices are sites with a solid history of providing balanced, quality information. This is one area where longevity can be a plus.
Journal about Loved One’s Moods and Behaviors
You may want to add journaling to your already exhausting day. Keep track of your loved one’s moods, behaviors at different times of day, medications, results of medical appointments and other pertinent issues that can affect caregiving routines and decisions. Not only could this journal be valuable to you as a backup for your caregiving practices, it could also be an aid to your loved one’s doctor.
Attend Support Groups Online and/or In Person
Receive insight, inspiration and new ideas that can help you comfort your loved one. The confidence that you gain from this type of resource can inspire you to stay strong in what you know, and these connections will keep you learning. Additionally, if you need to defend your practices in caregiving, your contacts here will be a great source of support and comfort for you.
Be Open to Outside Guidance
If you don’t trust that the current doctor’s advice is sound, obtain a second opinion. If you aren’t happy with a social worker’s stance, do the same. However, don’t shut out advice from medical and other resources just because you may not agree with them. If you can show that you are open to experts when there are issues with your loved one, you will be in a much better place to state your case should you be criticized.
Don’t Act Defensive
If you’ve done your homework and are open to outside experts you should have the confidence to stand up for yourself as a caregiver. Should siblings who are never around to help, friends who think they know better, or other caregivers who make different decisions than you do criticize your choices, you can cite the reasons for your choices and continue on doing your best for your circumstances.
Most family caregivers have self-doubts. We can update our knowledge and improve our techniques. We can look at suggestions from others to see if there is truth in what is said. However, potshots from family and friends who think that “if only they had the time they could do better than you” should be ignored. Try not to get drawn into battles you can’t win. Use your self-confidence to protect yourself while you share information willingly with those who have a reason to be informed about your loved one’s condition.