Dealing with Negative Comments – Family Caregiver Quick Tip

When you are a family caregiver, sometimes family members — especially siblings — can offer unsolicited opinions about you are doing.

Sometimes it is even the one for whom you care that feels it necessary to comment on your performance or worse yet your “caring.”

These comments can be hurtful instead of helpful when you are trying hard to make everyone happy.

Criticism dressed up as support most of the time serves little purpose except for wounding another person.

It can be especially hard to take when the person offering the negative comments isn’t doing their share of the caregiving or perhaps even standing in your way to get things accomplished that you feel is in the best interest of your senior loved one.

When the comments come from the care recipient, it could make you question why you are spending your time trying to help them when your efforts are seemingly unappreciated.

Dealing with Negative Comments

We know in our hearts that senior loved ones who cast aspersions may not realize their words are wounding, especially if they have dementia and may not be in control of their words as they once were.

It isn’t them talking but their disease.

Family members who criticize, however, can cause you distress that could interfere with your caregiving duties and even your mental and physical health.

For this reason it is important to find a way to cope with negative comments that are sure to come your way so that you can stay well to be a caregiver.

Here are some tips on handling unkind words.

  1. Try not to listen; redirect the topic of conversation to something that is helpful for your senior. If that can’t be done — walk away or politely disconnect from the phone.
  2. If the comments are coming from your senior, remember they are frustrated or confused by their disease so don’t take it personally or get offended. They may be angry at their situation, their loss of independence, or just depressed. Their comments are being hurled at the closest person — you. They don’t mean to hurt you.
  3. Realize that no matter what you do, what choices you make, what food you prepare for a meal, or any other decision, you will not please everyone all the time. That is reality so just accept the comments and continue with your tasks. Try to let the comments roll off your back!
  4. Don’t react with anger — you will just give the person the desired outcome. Smile and continue on with care or other duties. It will be difficult for the person throwing the insults to keep going when you are smiling.

Naturally these tips often won’t be easy to follow and will require caregivers to practice them. Hopefully you won’t have too many opportunities to practice.

It is human nature to get hurt feelings when someone is telling you all the things you are doing wrong.

Remind yourself the importance of what you are doing if your feelings are hurt from negative comments.

Additional Resources

Here are a few more articles that you might find helpful! Just click on the headlines below to read them.

Good luck and Thank You for caring!

Spouses Who Are Caregivers – Identifying and Avoiding Stress

Measuring Family Caregiver Strain – Knowing is Key to Burnout Prevention

Making Family Caregiving Work – A Sibling Tale of Understanding

Facts About Family Caregivers – Who They Are and What They Need