Caregivers need more help and support
Many caregivers take on more responsibility for their older adult than others in their family.
In AARP’s 2020 report, half of all family caregivers said that nobody else provided unpaid care.
Caring for an older adult by yourself can be exhausting and damaging to health. But getting family to help is often a challenge.
Getting a better understanding of why family members aren’t doing their part helps you find ways to get them to participate in caregiving.
We share 3 top reasons why family members don’t help with caregiving and suggest how to overcome their excuses so they’ll give you the help you need and deserve.
Overcome 3 reasons why relatives avoid caregiving
1. They think you don’t need any help
This may sound crazy because you’re living the grueling caregiving reality, but from the outside, it may look like you’ve got everything under control and don’t need help.
Often, people who aren’t involved in day-to-day care have no idea how much time, energy, and sacrifice is needed to care for an older adult.
And telling your family member about everything you do isn’t as effective as having them experience it firsthand.
A good way to start changing their misguided point of view is to slowly get them involved in day-to-day activities.
For example, ask your relative to help with a specific task – like a health insurance claim issue or financial housekeeping.
Or, arrange their visit for when you’d normally help Mom get ready for bed and then ask them to do some of the things you would normally do.
They may not change their minds the first couple of times, but if you keep involving them in various aspects of your older adult’s care, they’ll soon see firsthand how much time and energy caregiving really takes.
2. They don’t know how to help
Another type of family member might not know how they should help. These folks do better when asked to do specific tasks.
It might be annoying to have to constantly spell out exactly what you need because it seems so obvious to you, but these people often respond better to requests.
For example, you might say “Next Saturday, I need your help to declutter Mom’s house so she won’t be as likely to fall. Can you meet me at her house at 2pm and stay until 5pm?”
3. They’re scared of doing a bad job
When you started as a caregiver, you had to jump in and learn on the job.
It might be upsetting to think that someone else has the luxury of sitting on the sidelines because they’re too afraid.
But this person is more likely to help if you slowly ease them in and train them on caregiving tasks.
Start out by having them shadow you and watch while you care for your older adult. That helps them get over their fear and get familiar with the routine.
The more first hand exposure they have to caregiving, the more comfortable they’ll get.
As an example, you could ask them to come over for lunch. While they’re there, calmly talk through the ways you’re helping Dad – “I’m just going to cut up the chicken to make it easier to chew.” or “Let’s gently encourage Mom to drink all her juice at lunch so she won’t get dehydrated.”
Recommended for you:
- 3 Effective Ways to Respond to Caregiver Criticism
- 6 Ways to Improve the Situation When Siblings Don’t Help with Aging Parents
- Caregiving and Sibling Relationships: 5 Tips for Working Together
By DailyCaring Editorial Team