If you are the caregiver who provides hands-on support for your aging parent, you might have witnessed their grumbling or pessimistic attitude when things are not going as planned. It can be stressful and discouraging as you start to question if you are doing something wrong when you are just trying to help. If such thoughts have crossed your mind, you are not alone. Learning how to cope with a senior’s complaints and negativity is vital in improving your relationship with each other, prevent caregiver burnout, and improve your loved one’s mental and emotional health.
Reciprocating negativity with negativity can escalate the pessimistic feelings of your loved one. When your loved one is exhibiting negative behavior that upsets you, do not provide any response – positive or negative. You can leave the room momentarily to catch a break and return when they have completed their thoughts. You can then provide a neutral response, to discuss about their earlier behavior. Remember that the aggression directed towards you is not personal, and your loved one might just be dealing with other stresses at hand.
Take a Break
Being a full-time caregiver to your aging parent can be challenging and exhausting, while having the risk of suffering from caregiver burnout. As much as you want to be there for your loved one, you must take measures to preserve your own emotional well-being. Take a day off to engage in activities that you enjoy, to regulate your emotions. You can consider wellness exercises, such as meditation, yoga or going to the spa to relax. You can also consider counseling, or just talking to a supportive group of friends that empathizes with you.
As your loved one is experiencing many changes with their own body, they might not realize that they are hurting you with their negativity, words, or behavior. Sit down and have a chat with your loved one, while verbalizing your concerns and feelings in a calm way. Share with them that you still love and care for them, but there are steps that both of you can take to create a better relationship. Make a list to share with them of behavior you can accept, and those that upset you or make you feel uncomfortable. Set some realistic goals and expectations that you can work towards together.
Seek Professional Assistance
Being around your loved one when they are feeling down can make you a target of their pessimistic behavior, while taking a toll on your relationship with them. The criticism and negativity that you receive can cause you to grow resentment towards them. It can help if you leave the caretaking to the professionals, and spend your time with them doing things you both enjoy, such as taking a walk, watching a movie or having a nice meal.
If you need a break, you can always seek professional assistance, such as that of a retirement community that offers Assisted Living programs. Our team members at SummerHouse Heritage Woods are trained and experienced with engaging with seniors, while planning regular activities to help our residents connect with peers to make life enriching. Participating in social activities, such as senior wellness programs and social events can help improve the emotional and physical health of your loved one, helping them to release some of their frustration and improve their mood.
If you would like more information or to schedule a tour, please feel free to contact us and a friendly member of staff will be in touch as soon as possible.