How to Approach an Overbearing Caregiver

How to Approach an Overbearing Caregiver

Finding the right caregiver for an elderly parent or loved one can be an overwhelming task. Many times, a spouse, adult child, or close family friend will step up and agree to care for your loved one and this can seem like the perfect arrangement. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Many times, caring for a relative can be particularly difficult because it is hard to be objective with someone you know and love. Further, it can be a tough balancing act between providing them the care they need without depriving them of the independence they deserve.

Even caregivers with the best intentions can sometimes do more harm than good. For example, sometimes an adult child cannot cope with a parent’s limitations and will push them to do more than they are physically able to do because they don’t want to accept the fact that their parent is growing older. On the other hand, the difficulty of seeing a parent in pain may mean that a child won’t let that parent perform difficult exercises that will help to make them stronger.

Overbearing caregivers also may disrupt treatment prescribed for their loved one by a physician or home health care professional. Many caregivers may speak for their parent even when that parent is able to speak for themselves. This can make it much more difficult for health care providers to diagnose or treat a patient.

In almost all cases, seniors are unlikely to share their feelings with anyone regarding an overbearing or overprotective caregiver. This lack of communication can lead to devastating consequences. Not only will the patient become anxious-which can cause a host of physical issues-the patient may not get the care they need because they don’t want to cause turmoil.

Of course, it isn’t always the patient that suffers the consequences in such situations. When an overbearing caregiver feels that they are responsible for every aspect of their loved one’s physical and mental health, they can quickly succumb to caregiver burnout.

Caregiver burnout is a state of physical and mental exhaustion that occurs when caregivers do not get the help that they need when caring for a loved one or believe that they are the only one who can provide the correct care for that person. This can lead to anxiety, depression, fatigue, stress and physical problems. Such caregivers also are prone to feelings of extreme guilt if they spend time caring for themselves instead of their loved one.

At Physicians Choice Private Duty, we recognize that It can be difficult to talk to a caregiver about the fact that they may be overbearing. After all, isn’t this person sacrificing a great deal to care for their loved one? The truth is, an overbearing caregiver can cause a great deal of stress for themselves and the person that they are caring for. If you want to approach a caregiver about pulling back a bit, you might want to encourage them to ask themselves the following questions:

  1. Are there things my loved one could do on their own that I am doing for them?
  2. Am I giving my loved one enough space?
  3. Do I interrupt or speak for my loved one when they are capable of speaking for themselves?
  4. How does my loved one feel about my help?
  5. Are there boundaries I am overstepping?
  6. How well do I communicate with my loved one?
  7. Has my relationship with my loved one gone downhill since I began caring for them?

Once a caregiver has honestly answered these questions, they may be more open to discussing ways to give up some control and accept some help when it comes to the day-to-day care of their loved one. The key is to let them know that giving up control over a loved one doesn’t mean they are failing or that they love that person any less.