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Handling Caregiver Criticism

Nov 30, 2016 by Miracle Mile Comfort Keepers

Evaluating Family Criticism

Even when it’s on the mark, criticism is hard to hear. But what if it’s off base, unsolicited or doled out for other reasons: old family dynamics, competitiveness, resentment, guilt or plain insensitivity?

When you’re in the hot seat, ask yourself:

Who is doing the criticizing and what is their motive? 

Is it a perpetually disgruntled or insecure sibling – or do they genuinely feel left out, or that something could be done better? Is it a parent who might be maligning you in order to keep you engaged? They may be feeling a loss of their own independence and control, fear or helplessness. Is it a spouse who resents the time you are spending on caring for others?

Depending on the person doing the criticizing, you may need to attribute their negative feedback to other issues.

Are they competent or qualified to criticize? 

If they have dementia, say “Oh, thanks for telling me. I’ll do it that way next time.” Don’t engage, but be matter of fact. Perhaps they think they are more qualified to do the job. What a great opportunity to let them be you for a little while! Invite them to take over for a bit (a good time to introduce them to the concept of respite care), or suggest hiring someone. You’ll get a break and they’ll get a reality check. Once you mention having someone else do the task, they often stop complaining, say experts.

Was it what they said or the way they said it?

Are you being overly sensitive? Did they chew you out wrongly or in a tactless way or throw in your other weaknesses for good measure? Are they just being a jerk? Or, can you find anything valuable about what they say? 

At the end of the day, the whole purpose is to make sure your elderly loved one is taken care of; the efforts of everyone involved should be towards that goal. If there are disagreements between siblings and how you are taking care of your senior, it may be time to consider an impartial professional caregiver. Doing this will allow you to take a break and reputable senior care agencies will provide a trained professional who will work with the family and senior to develop a care plan to ensure all needs are being met.

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