Updated: Aug 14, 2019
Not every caregiving relationship is champagne and roses, unfortunately. If you and your elderly family member have always had a rocky relationship, odds are that you’re going to keep having trouble. That’s especially true as she needs more and more of your help.
Let the Past Be the Past
Part of why your senior and you might not have the best relationship now is that the past and past situations are still affecting you both now. It’s also entirely possible that you’re not going to be able to correct the issues that you and your senior had back then. Depending on her health, she may not even remember everything that happened, while you’re still stewing. You may need to put the past firmly in the past.
Do Your Own Emotional Work
You might not be able to fix things with your senior, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get closure for yourself. Do your own emotional work. Find a counselor or therapist that you trust and talk about what happened from your point of view. You may find that even if you can’t work things out with your senior, you can get to a happier place through doing your own work.
Don’t Try to Be Perfect
If you’re trying to be the perfect caregiver, even with emotional issues between you and your senior, that’s not a good idea. When things are rocky between you, that’s going to put even more pressure on the situation. Perfection is never possible, but putting it into the context of a difficult relationship just makes it all worse.
Get Realistic about What Is
You might have grand expectations still about how things can improve with your senior, but you need to be realistic. The likelihood that things are going to change is very low, even with you doing your emotional work. You have to accept the situation for what it is and offer your senior the best care you can.
Take a Step Back
Taking time away is a vital part of caregiving. For you and your senior, it may be what keeps the situation from blowing up. Hire home care providers to take over for you periodically and make sure that you’re taking adequate care of yourself and of your needs.
If your relationship with your aging adult isn’t a great one, you can still be a good caregiver. You might need to readjust what you consider to be important in terms of your relationship with your elderly family member, though.