Author and Speaker Leah Stanley shares her advice on how to approach disagreements, introduces different communication strategies and how to make decisions as a family.
Leah is a former caregiver herself and wrote a book about her journey of caring for her grandparents who both had dementia. “It’s unlike anything else [being a caregiver],” Stanley said. “It can be particularly hard if you have some family challenges.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has everyone self-isolating, in quarantine and social distancing, which means most everyone is stuck at home. Being stuck at home can create an added layer of tension and stress.
“It’s easy when you’re not the main caregiver to play arm chair quarterback, and I can tell you as the caregiver who was on the receiving end of that, it makes a very hard job even harder when you have people who want to criticize and gripe and complain about everything you’re doing or they’re questioning everything you’re doing. ” Stanley said.
Do Your Pre-Planning
It’s important to have everything ready before there is a crisis situation. It’s never too early to pre-plan and get legal documents in order.
“I would laugh and tell people I’m not a lawyer, so I’m not giving you legal advice, but I urge you, I stress to you the importance. Get your legal documents done,” Leah said.
If there is no plan in order and something happens, it can create panic, stress and even feelings of guilt in not really knowing if loved ones withes were fulfilled. Having a plan removes the bickering over who is going to handle what responsibility.
- TIP: Google Family Conflict Mediation. There are organization that can offer an unbiased third party view to help resolve conflicts.
Don’t be afraid to talk about the elephant in the room. It’s better to get it all out in the open and really have a discussion about making important decisions.
“Do everything you can to achieve peace and the in event that you can’t get peace, seek family mediation,” Stanley said. Get a third party who can come in with no bias who can help clear the air.”
Forgiveness is a universal concept, it means that you’re choosing to let go of what’s happened to allow yourself to move forward and feel better.
“Forgiveness is not about the other person,” Stanley said. “Forgiveness is letting yourself take your hands off of their throat. It releases you from the stress of not wanting to forgive and the ugly that comes from that.”
It’s a process and it does take time, but letting go of the burden allows you to be a better caregiver and an overall healthier person. You can not control what other people do, but you can control your response to any situation.
“Try to respond with kindness. try to respond with patience, but also don;t hesitate to look them and say you know what I really do love you and I really do respect you and I appreciate the fact that you have this opinion but we’re really going to do it this way because I really think that this is best.”
Visit Leah’s website for more information about her and her book as well as other helpful resources and blog articles for caregivers. Visit our Caregiver Resource Video page for more educational segments, and stay up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 information and resources on our Monitoring the Coronavirus page.