It’s that time of year when many families gather for holiday celebrations and check in on loved ones. It can be a tough combo, creating a celebratory mood while also dealing with serious family issues. I get a lot of questions from family caregivers about how to handle difficult conversations that come up around sensitive topics such as driving, personal care, housework and finances. Here are my top tips for setting up a successful conversation.
One goes through so many emotions as a caregiver- fear, sadness, anger, joy, surprise, just to name a few- but the one emotion I probably felt most often was simply, overwhelmed. That single feeling of being out of control and always on my guard amplified whatever other emotion I might have been experiencing at any given time. It wasn't really until Dad already had spent six months or so in his nearby nursing home that I finally learned how to just breathe, instead of react, whenever his weight rose unexpectedly or blood sugar spiked. And breathing, instead of reacting, made all the difference in our relationship.
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