Why Family Dynamics Can Be Difficult When Caring For A Loved One

Sep 14, 2017 | Resources for Families

When a close family member like Mom or Dad find themselves in need of care, it sends the whole family into a frenzy. Keeping them home, in familiar surroundings, is almost always their preference and the goal of most major insurance companies. For the most part, no one ever volunteers happily to go into a full-time long term care facility. But caring for a loved one is stressful. Stressful on the family and stressful even on the one being cared for.

There are many pieces that need to fall into place to ensure that care is delivered well, holistically and to the liking of all involved. When there is more than one opinion on these things (usually there are several), that is when the trouble starts. Family dynamics is not unfamiliar to most people. It’s what becomes evident when any stressor enters the familial relationship. Add the additional emotional stress of having to care for Mom or Dad full-time and you could have a 5-alarm emotional crisis on your hands.

Someone has to gather up the pieces and get organized. Maybe that someone is you. Dealing with other personalities in an already difficult situation is exhausting. Understanding why these things happen and finding out what you can do to alleviate the tension goes a long way in the success of caring for a loved one.

Emotional Intelligence Plays A Role In Caring For A Loved One

First, it helps to understand what emotional intelligence is. A person who has a high emotional intelligence is very perceptive at recognizing others’ indicators of emotion and knows how to strategically navigate them for the best possible outcome. For instance, if you know that your brother Gary tends not to be very agreeable in the early evening when he returns home from work, you, as an emotionally intelligent person, may perceive that the time to discuss hiring a homecare assistant for Mom and bringing up how you both will pay for those services may best be done in the morning or on the weekends.

An emotionally intelligent person also knows how to manage and control their own emotions and what strategies they need to take to ensure that they are feeling emotionally well for themselves. If you know that your mood tends to be low in the early afternoon, you, as an emotionally intelligent person, will know that you shouldn’t schedule anything with significant emotional stress during those times. Such as, having to have a difficult conversation with Mom’s visiting nurse about what you think is lacking in care.

These are some great examples of things that people with high levels of emotional intelligence do. The person in the family with the most significant levels of emotional intelligence, if also very capable with getting things done, is often the person who gets elected to manage and coordinate caring for a loved one as well. Also, those in the family with less emotional intelligence tend to look to those who have a lot of it for direction and for comfort during stressful times.

Your individual family members’ roles and their ability to handle the stress of caring for a loved one will depend a lot on their emotional intelligence. For those who do not do well emotionally in stressful situations, you may not want to expect as much as those family members who tend to do well.

No Matter What The Family Dynamics, All Will Want To Be Respected

The important thing in maintaining a smooth(er) relationship with your family members during a time of caring for a loved one is mutual respect no matter what the participation level may be. Try to remember to focus on the situation at hand, while keeping in mind the emotional intelligence of who you are dealing with. Have compassion, regardless of participation level or emotional ability to deal with caring for a loved one. This family member cares too and wants to feel like they are equally welcomed to participate in the coordination and facilitation of care.

For many families, this kind of family situation can contribute to breakdowns in relationships and cause emotional upheaval where there didn’t need to be any. The primary care coordinator must take care of him or herself emotionally in order to properly deal with the other family members and their emotions. Not taking personally, the occasional emotional flare up between family members, goes a long way in mitigating damage in family relationships.

How To Increase Participation And Communication Between Family Members

If there is any barrier to be had among family members caring for a loved one, it is perceived lack of communication. In fact, communication is most often cited as the reason for job dissatisfaction also.

So, collectively we may not be the best communicators out there in general, never mind adding a family stressor. You can imagine why things break down so easily when you understand that the right level of communication is really a qualitative thing, rather than a quantitative one. The perception of proper communication and inclusion varies dramatically based on the emotional intelligence of a given individual.

Keeping all this in mind, there is a solution. There is a way to have all of the information available to any member of a family who wants it, at whatever communication level they wish.  There is a way to get feedback from every member of the family that wishes to give it. There is even a way for family members to see the notes of professionals caring for your loved one so they know exactly what is happening and when.

This may sound crazy, but it’s true. eCare Vault is the first HIPAA secure, cloud-based platform that is specifically designed to help family members coordinate, communicate and give feedback on caring for a loved one. Have a family member that would just like to read what is going on and nothing else? Great! There is a place for them on eCare Vault. Have a family member that has lots of thoughts and suggestions for care management and coordination? Perfect! Not only can they share it with the primary care coordinator in your family, but everyone else who is participating in the caring for a loved one can see their notes too.

No one will feel left out, unheard and uninformed ever again. If your family is having to plan for caring for a loved one, or even if you are in the middle of caring for a loved one right now, there is a path to better family communication and even relationships by coordinating and documenting care of a loved one through eCare Vault.


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