Everyone has one of those days where they feel like nothing they do is right. As a caregiver, those days can be overwhelming and disheartening. It’s hard to listen to the criticism of the person you’re caring for or the complaints of other family members. It can make you want to quit.
Unfortunately, sometimes criticism is just part of the job, but you don’t have to let it get you down. Learning to handle the criticism of others can allow you to use it to make yourself an even better caregiver than you already are.
Here are some tips for taking criticism without letting it ruin your day…
Consider the Source
When people offer unwanted advice, try to remember that they are only trying to help. Perhaps they see you struggling with your caretaker duties and hope their advice will make things easier for you. Or, perhaps they have been a caretaker in the past and something worked well for them, so they hope it will work for you, too. Unfortunately, all the well-meant advice can come off as sounding like you’re doing something wrong. You’re probably not! Even if someone has been a caretaker before, they don’t know your particular circumstances. You know best what will work for you and the older adult for whom you are a caretaker. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should never take advice from others! If something sounds like a good idea, give it a try. If it works, keep doing it. If not, chalk it up to experience and move on.
Wait to React
When someone says something that makes you angry, try to remain calm and stop yourself from reacting in the moment. Instead, give yourself a moment to process the situation and think about what has been said. Perhaps it wasn’t meant in the way you heard it.
Evaluate the Criticism
You might not want to hear this, but it is possible there’s something you could be doing better. When you’ve had time to calm down from your initial reaction, think about the criticism you received. Now, try to consider it feedback and consider how you can use it. For example, if your aging parent complains that you hurt them when you help them to stand, think about what you’ve been doing and whether you could make the action easier on your parent by making a change. Perhaps you need to seek help from a professional that could suggest a better way.
Enlist the Complainer
One of the most annoying things about unsolicited advice is that it feels like the person only wants to complain, but never steps up to help. If that’s the case with someone in your life, turn the complaint around on them and ask for their help. Thank them for their advice and suggest that they might help you with your caregiver duties. It might go something like this: “I appreciate your suggestion for preparing healthier meals for my mom. You know, I could use some help with making her meals. Would you like to come and cook for her a couple of times per week?” Your request for help is likely to be met with one of two responses—either the complainer will stop bringing up the subject or they’ll actually jump in and help. Either way, you win!
Regardless of how you handle criticism, don’t forget that what you’re doing as a caregiver for the older adult in your life is meaningful and valuable. You are the person that’s helping them live a better life and stay in their home for as long as possible.
If you or an aging family member are considering homecare in Atlanta, GA, please contact the caring staff at Caring Companions of Atlanta 470-514-5954 .
We provide quality non-medical services to our clients in their homes or in a facility if that’s where they live. Our staff is available for care plans for extensive care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or as little as 4 hours per visit. Reach out to us, and one of our outstanding administrative staff will meet with potential clients to assist them and their families in designing an effective, personal plan of care.
Adam is married and he and his wife have two younger children. The family shares their home with two cats and two hermit crabs. The kids are working hard to get mommy and daddy to add a puppy...time will tell! They live in Sandy Springs and are active in the senior community.