You are the primary caregiver for a family member. Whether it is a sibling, a spouse, or a child with disabilities, you feel alone. And yet, you have other family members who could or should be helping with caregiving tasks. Compelling Caregiver Family Draft Dodgers to action is frustrating.
Caregivers step up to caregiving. OR…you step into caregiving. Regardless of what the situation may be, caregivers choose the role. Although the role is rewarding, the responsibilities constrain our own lives.
Family Draft Dodgers
Most caregivers have other family members who could share the caregiving tasks. Could but don’t . Whether it is a sibling, aunt, uncle or ex, there usually is a cast of other possible supporting characters.
Once caregiving is underway, these people who could help often fade away. For once a primary caregiver is in place, other family members adopt the “off the hook” attitude.
Although technically available for support, they dodge efforts to be drafted into service. There are LOTS of examples of how family members dodge the caregiving draft. However, what counts is whether they are on or off board with you- the primary caregiver.
Compelling Caregiver Family Dodge Dodgers
So…here you are- the primary caregiver. Wanting but not receiving enough support or respite. How could other family members not see how exhausting caregiving can be? Why don’t they answer your requests or pleas for assistance?
There are NO satisfying answers to these questions. Actually, even asking yourself these questions opens the door to resentment. And…resentment hamstrings , chokes and depletes caregivers. It is an understandable but damaging emotion.
Proactively, there are more productive ways to channel your caregiver energy. Possible ways to compel family members to actively support you include:
- List your caregiving tasks. Write them down. Make sure they are measurable and factual. This is NOT the place for emotional venting! Examples include: grocery shopping, transport to medical appointments, managing finances and maintaining your loved one’s hygiene.
- Write an email or letter requesting specific help. Again- no emotional spew here! Examples include: asking for financial help if you are shouldering caregiving expenses, requesting specific days and times when you want to be relieved of duty-vacation, specific times of the week for you to step away from the tasks, transport to medical appointments, help in managing finances .
- Write a sincere request for help. Without accusation, let them know that you need their help. Make this as positive as possible. Even if you ARE trying to guilt them into action!!
- Request a response within a certain amount of time. Make sure this is a document on record. An email or certified letter eliminates the excuse of ” I never received it!”
- If no response if received within the requested timeline, reach out again. Ask simple yes or not questions. Will you ?????Fill n the blank with your specific requests.
Compelling Caregiver Family Draft Dodgers excuses
Finally, there are MANY excuses, disguised as reasons,caregiver family draft dodgers use. http://agingcare.com highlights the top three.
But…here’s the thing. When push does come to shove, your family members either support or dodge you. These are the facts. And sometimes the facts disappoint or hurt you.
Rising above the dodgers
There are NO excuses to absolve your family caregiver draft dodgers. However, once it is clear they choose not to support or participate your path is open. The path to the reality of your situation. Your family members choose to abdicate. You choose not to.
Here is a simple formula to apply when your family dodges your draft attempts.
First,acknowledge their response ( of lack of). Respond in writing, NOT in conversation or a phone call! For example, acknowledge what they shared.if the excuses (reasons) are ones to which you can relate- acknowledge that. “I relate to how difficult it is to see _______ in their current condition. I feel the same way you do.” This puts the reality of your feelings in your dodgers terms.
Keep the indictments and accusations OUT of the response! No matter how justified you may feel, your resentment only gives them a reason to call you a matyr or victim.
The AAAR method
Next, use this grounding technique: I call it the AAAR method:
- ACKNOWLEDGE what has happened.
- ALLOW the situation to exist as it is, NOT how you want it to be.
- ADJUST how you deal with it. For example, now that you know the facts of the situation, release the expectation it should be different. It isn’t !
- RECOVER from your negative emotions. They might not go away, but can be reassigned to be of less impact. Your recovery is the only measurable thing that matters.No matter how unappreciative, selfish or disrespectful you may feel they are, they don’t matter. YOU do!
Caregiver Family Draft Dodgers cannot always be compelled to participate how you would choose. BUT….you can choose to look away from them and towards your own needs.
This is difficult. Nearly every caregiver with whom I work, experiences this. Some are successful in compelling support. Others are not.
I can help you though this experience!