Lots of aging adults don’t like to give up control in their lives. For some, that translates to bossy behavior or criticisms directed your way that can hurt.
Here are some steps you can try.
Do a Quick and Honest Evaluation
Nobody’s perfect, no matter how hard you’re trying. So from that standpoint, it makes sense to take an honest look at constructive criticism. But do this quickly. First off, you don’t want to dwell on anything that is just designed to get your goat. If it’s obvious that’s all this is, blow off the criticism and carry on. If you feel as if there’s possibly some truth to the criticism, though, be realistic about what you can do to correct the situation.
Offer Her Some Choices
If your elderly family member doesn’t have many choices about what goes on in her life, that can make her bitter. Take a look at how often you offer her choices and what kinds of choices those are. It might be time to revamp the types of decisions you make open to her. Your senior, even if she’s experiencing cognitive difficulties, can make a bigger variety of decisions than you might think at first. Even if all you’re offering is a choice between one shirt or another, that can make a big difference.
Set up a Complaint Box
One way you can tone down the audible criticisms on a daily basis is to set up your own version of a complaint box. Your version might just be a notebook on the kitchen counter, but the idea is that your elderly family member writes down her complaints and you promise to address the valid ones as you are able to do so. This can serve as a way for your senior to blow off some steam and give you a break.
Step Away a Little More Often
Something else that gives you a break is to literally take a break. Hire elderly care providers and let them handle the situation with your aging adult. You cannot face constant criticism and the demands of caregiving and not feel those blows. Taking time away gives you a chance to recuperate.
Remember that you can’t make everybody happy all the time, especially someone you’re taking care of on a daily basis. Keep in mind also that a lot of how your senior responds to you may have more to do with her than with you. Try to let it roll off your back.