How to Handle Caregiving Criticism
Many people who are responsible for the care of another share an emotional connection to the person they are caring for. For many caregivers, accepting constructive criticism from others is a difficult thing.
We want to take this opportunity to explain to you, the caregiver, how to properly handle criticism and to be open to it but not affected by it. Criticism is meant to help you be a better caregiver. Learn from it.
“The expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes” is the definition of criticism. In the eyes of a caregiver, criticizing means focusing on their faults and mistakes. Criticism is hard to take, even when it is correct.
As the primary caregiver, you may already feel overwhelmed, unappreciated, second-guessed and both hurt and angry if others don’t agree with how you are handling things. These feelings make it especially difficult to understand and learn from criticism.
The first step to understanding caregiver criticism is to look at who is doing the criticizing and what their motivation is.
All three of these family member types can pass on negative feedback for a number of reasons, for a number of issues. For example, your spouse may resent you spending so much time helping your parent (or elderly friend), your sibling might be feeling left out and mom and dad have lost their independence and control which leaves them feeling helpless. These are very likely components for their caregiving criticism.
But sometimes even if they are motivated by bad intentions their criticism is accurate, no matter why they are giving it, here are five ways to take action on qualified criticism.
1. Listen to what they have to say. This may be the most difficult – listening to someone tell you what you are doing wrong, but in the end, it may make life easier on you (or your parent) in the long run.
2. Take a few minutes before responding. After they tell you their thoughts, do not overreact and respond immediately, instead say, “Thank you for your input, I will think about what you had to say.” That’s it. Don’t get into anything until you are calm and ready to talk.
3. Once you are ready to talk, figure out the best way to have the conversation. Should you meet face to face or is better to send an email? Maybe a phone call? Whatever works for your situation.
4. Be honest and tell whomever is criticizing you how you feel. This means saying something like, “I feel really hurt when…” This will help them to understand everything you are going through and maybe next time they will criticize in a better manner, one that is more effective.
5. Pat yourself on the back. You are doing a great job! No matter what anyone says or how overwhelmed you feel, remember to tell yourself what a great job you are doing.
Once you have spoken with your sibling, spouse or parent, you can discuss a switch in roles. If they are giving you new ideas that you do not feel will work, allow them to become the caregiver. Be civil about the role switch and offer it as an option. It could give you a break and them a reality check. They might even stop criticizing you after they spend a day, even an hour in your shoes, as the caregiver.
And as a final straw, if you need a break or help with senior living, call Moves for Seniors. We specialize in senior moving and helping with many aspects of senior living. Give us a call at (800) 227-0515 or click here to request a free move consultation and we will set you up with one of our Specialty Move Coordinators to help you take care of all of your shipping and moving needs.