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Overcoming Family Strife When You’re the Primary Caregiver

Having a loved one with Alzheimer’s can create tremendous stress in families. In families where there is generally good will, conflicts can typically be worked through for the common good. However, in families where people didn’t get along well before the diagnosis, it can create nightmares, especially for the primary caregiver.

The situation can become worse if some family members live out of town and only see the loved one for short, infrequent visits. They just don’t have the opportunity to witness the severity and frequency of demented behaviors you deal with every day.

You may find you’re being criticized unfairly for the care you’re providing even though you’re doing a heroic job and making major sacrifices in your personal life to do so. This can lead to bitterness and create extreme disharmony in the family.

Here are a few things you can try to reduce the friction:

1) Be Patient and Understand Where They’re Coming from: Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and understand why they lack knowledge of the situation. If you can stay calm you’ll have a better chance of decreasing stressful interactions.

2) Educate Others about the Patient’s Condition: Make very detailed lists of the patient’s dementia behaviors and share them with family members. Remember, they’ve never seen many of the things you see on a daily basis. Update these lists and share them frequently.

3) Have Others Care for the Patient for a While: The best way to let other family members understand the loved one’s condition is to have them take care of the patient for a while. Afterwards you may find you’re being criticized less and appreciated more.



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One Response to “Overcoming Family Strife When You’re the Primary Caregiver”

  1. Cindy Torrez from Huntington WV says:

    I am the primary caregiver for my mom. I have a sister in New York who is very critical of the decisions I make about my mom’s care, but she never does ANYTHING to help. I’m going to show her this article!

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