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Family Dynamics in Caregiving

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Learn how caregiving can affect family dynamics and how you can communicate with family members effectively.

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Family Dynamics in Caregiving

  1. 1. Family Dynamics in Caregiving Christina Irving, LCSW Family Consultant Family Caregiver Alliance www.caregiver.org
  2. 2. © 2008 Family Caregiver Alliance Who are Caregivers? • Unpaid family and friends • 52 million in U.S. • $450 billion
  3. 3. © 2008 Family Caregiver Alliance Families and Caregiving • Birth Order • Gender Roles • Role in the Family • Individual Responsibilities • Distance • Need for independence
  4. 4. © 2008 Family Caregiver Alliance Common Sibling Conflicts 1. Re-emergence of Sibling Rivalry 2. Unequal Division of Tasks 3. Providing Financial Assistance Rather Than Time and Effort 4. Whose Time Matters More 5. Concern over Inheritance 6. Different Perceptions of Parent’s Needs
  5. 5. © 2008 Family Caregiver Alliance Communication Tips • Be respectful • Focus on present situation and needs • Speak only for yourself • Be aware of non- verbal communication • Negotiate
  6. 6. © 2008 Family Caregiver Alliance “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~Maya Angelou
  7. 7. © 2008 Family Caregiver Alliance Communication Techniques • I – Statements • DESC • Aikido
  8. 8. © 2008 Family Caregiver Alliance I Statements • Takes responsibility for own needs • Non-blaming • “I’m feeling overwhelmed with juggling mom’s doctor appointments and my work schedule.” • “I worry when you’re home alone every day.”
  9. 9. © 2008 Family Caregiver Alliance DESC • Describe – What is happening? – “Dad needs someone with him all the time because of his dementia which means I can’t get any breaks” • Express – How you're feeling – “I’ve been feeling really tired and stressed lately” • Specify – What you like to see happen? – “I’d like us to find a way to get more care for dad” • Consequence – What the results will be – “If this happens, I’ll be able to take care of my own health and won’t feel so stressed and overwhelmed”
  10. 10. © 2008 Family Caregiver Alliance Aikido • “The way of the harmonious spirit” • Align: put yourself in their shows • Agree: find some common ground • Redirect: move the conversation in a positive direction • Resolve: find a middle ground or common concern
  11. 11. © 2008 Family Caregiver Alliance Sharing the Care • Have specific requests ready • Ask directly; don’t hint! • Use neutral third parties to facilitate • Be realistic • Web-based care coordination – LotsaHelpingHands – Caring Bridge
  12. 12. © 2008 Family Caregiver Alliance Guilt • “I should” • Guilt vs Regret • The “perfect caregiver” • Feeling selfish • Ambivalence
  13. 13. © 2008 Family Caregiver Alliance When Do I Know….. • to move mom in with someone? • to hire in-home help or use a day program? • that I need more support? • that dad can’t manage his finances anymore? • I should tell other family members that mom has dementia? UNCERTAINTY!
  14. 14. © 2008 Family Caregiver Alliance Making Decisions as a Family • Does everyone have all the same information? • What legal/financial planning has been done? • Is the person needing care competent to make decisions? • What is the capacity of individual family members to provide help?
  15. 15. © 2008 Family Caregiver Alliance Questions? • What is their diagnosis? What does this mean? • How do people in their condition typically progress? What’s the usual life expectancy? • Are they going to be able to manage their Activities of Daily Living? • Are they going to have the capacity to make their own decisions? • How will their mobility be affected?
  16. 16. © 2008 Family Caregiver Alliance Family Meetings • Who should attend? • Agenda • Guidelines • 3rd -party facilitators • Next steps
  17. 17. © 2008 Family Caregiver Alliance Working Together as a Family • Let members know their help is wanted and needed • Keep everyone in the loop • Allow members to help in ways they are able • Practice good communication skills
  18. 18. © 2008 Family Caregiver Alliance

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