How to Handle Criticism as a Caregiver

Author: Christine Browning

If you are a caregiver for a loved one in your family, you already know that outside opinions and criticisms seem to come with the job. Dealing with it can be tough and not taking it personally is even tougher. This is especially true when others voice opinions about how you should do things differently, or better yet, they are not doing the caregiving themselves. If you find yourself dealing with critical opinions of friends and family, here are a few tips to help you handle it.

1. Don’t Let Your Emotions Get the Best of You
It’s important not to allow your own emotions to fuel an already difficult situation. If people are saying things that make you feel angry or unappreciated, do whatever you have to do to stay calm. It might mean keeping a journal in which to vent, talking to a trusted confidant, or just walking outside and counting to ten. But you must keep your emotions in check. Remember that the person receiving your care is depending on you to handle things well.

2. Consider the Source
Who is it giving the criticism? If it’s a family member, perhaps they feel disconnected from living far away. Perhaps it’s a friend who means well but truly has no idea what you deal with on a daily basis. You must learn to determine whether you should even take the feedback seriously. Maybe they really do just want to help and have no idea how to express an opinion without it coming out as being critical toward the job you do. In these situations, you can remain calm and ask them to consider offering helpful solutions rather than criticizing you.

3. Consider the Comment
There might be some merit in what the person is saying. It takes a lot of self-restraint and maturity to be gracious when you feel you’re being attacked. Being gracious about the comment and thinking about the greater good of the patient will benefit everyone involved. Often, misunderstandings happen simply because everyone loves and cares deeply for the loved one receiving care.

4. Ask the Person to Offer Help in Practical Ways
It’s often true that the person who is being critical just wants to be more involved. Try to come up with practical ways they could help you and work together. It might be preparing a meal or helping to clean or do laundry, helping with doctor visits, etc. It might even be financial support that is needed. Don’t be afraid to be honest and ask for help.

5. Ask for Advice
Finally, one of the best ways to avoid conflict is to seek outside expert advice. If a family member doesn’t agree about simple things you are trying to accomplish, getting a medical expert’s opinion can defuse the conflict. It might seem silly, but if there is disagreement among family members and a caregiver, getting the opinion of a trusted and well-respected expert can quickly bring resolution.

It’s tough enough being a caregiver. Handling outside criticisms can be difficult, but it should not undermine your own confidence. For more information on this topic, please contact us!

Home Helpers of Barrington is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including 24 hour care, live-in care, home care assistance, personal care, companion care, respite care, Alzheimer's & dementia care, Parkinson's care as well as homemaker services in Barrington, Lake Bluff, Libertyville, Lincolnshire, Buffalo Grove, Vernon Hills, Mundelein, Wauconda, Fox River Grove, Hawthorn Woods, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, Wheeling, Inverness, Carpentersville, Kildeer, Cary, Lake Zurich, Deer Park, Prospect Heights, Grayslake, and Long Grove, Illinois.

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