Handling Caregiving Responsibilities Without "Bullying"

Posted on August 25, 2021

Brain injured victims often have so many underlying issues that it can become difficult for caregivers to always get them to follow their instructions and advice. Sometimes it can become challenging to get them even to take their medicines or get out of bed to get ready for medical appointments or avoid driving. 

This can be very stressful for family caregivers, as they can become frustrated or impatient and force care receivers too hard to obey regimens and schedules. Family caregivers might feel it is their responsibility and fear neglecting their duties. So the question is: How can caregivers be effective motivators and not fear bullies, coaches, and not bosses?

Competing for caregiving control: 

Sometimes the task of family caregiving can become complicated when siblings debate with each other. This can be a significant downside as the likelihood of conflicts and power struggles among family members for control over decision-making results in the care recipient being affected.

Adult siblings with early histories of clashes and mutual rivalry may exercise their right over their loved ones (care recipient). In their quest for becoming dutiful advocates, they end up fighting for the best means to help. 

The solution to this can be proactively soliciting everyone's advice and treating their ideas as contributions, not attacks on judgment. Keeping all those involved through text or email or a family gathering and sharing caregiving commitments can be a rewarding experience. It can also ease the burden of caregiving as compared to a lone caregiver.  

Ask and note for feedback: 

A family caregiver can be so involved in caregiving they lose the sense of how they are coming across to others. You can ask family members for feedback about conduct. If you get negative feedback, look into potential areas of improvement. Working towards a friendly approach can help your loved one feel less threatened. 

Prioritize where the control should be exercised:  

There are some caregiving tasks so crucial that a caregiver must put their foot down. Classifying issues as front or back burner may help resolve this concern. Safety comes on the front burner, such as driving capably, taking medications timely, and other safety concerns around the house and outside. 

Backburner issues involve meal timings, hygiene, exercise, and doctor's appointments which can be rescheduled or taken online. A little flexibility can be respectful as well as accommodating. 

Strategizing and developing a range of approaches: 

Taking care of a brain-injured loved one requires patience and perseverance. It may also need to look for ways to be innovative and fun to make the caregiving experience less stressful, such as resorting to humor, appealing to reason, and changing the subject entirely- an approach that will motivate. If your loved one is comfortable with a friend, your spouse, or another family member, let them make the request they rejected from you. 

Be caring and flexible:

Caregiving is not about being pushed around to get your work done; it's about caring and bending to your loved one's will when possible. Sometimes sick people can be so complicated that the only way is to apply pressure to complete the many caregiving responsibilities. However, we should never convince ourselves that the ends justify the means and need to handle caregiving duties with empathy and care. 

Use technology to help the elderly: 

Technological advancements and assistive devices have made communication and activities of daily living much more manageable. Teach and show them how to use a laptop or mobile app, hide unwanted features and functionality, and have large icons. Avoid using usernames, passwords, and addresses; feed in the number and names with snaps for mobile numbers. Use photos of grandchildren as the screen saver and background. Opt for technology that has onshore support and a call center with real people to resolve problems quickly.  

It is possible to carry out caregiving activities without 'bullying.' However, it is essential to identify issues early on and resolve them amicably.