News Break: How to Be an Assertive Caregiver

Friday, we talked about signs you’ve taken on too much stress as a family caregiver. But what if it’s not the to-do list that’s causing that stress? What if it’s other people?

Caregiving is challenging enough without having to deal with troublemakers. But those of us who aren’t naturally assertive are on a learning curve when it comes to handling those folks.

Thank goodness the Lift Caregiving website has some tips for us. In “Becoming More Assertive 101,” they share five steps to dealing with someone who stresses you out. You’ve probably heard step one before—use “I” statements. If that doesn’t work, step two is to tell the person how their behavior has affected you, using specific examples. From the post:

Here is an example from a practicing caregiver: “I told my sister that when she promises to come visit, I schedule appointments.  When she doesn’t show up, I have to cancel my appointments at the last minute, and Mom gets so down in the dumps that my time is spent soothing and comforting her.  After that, she never missed another visit with Mom.”  (Maggie Joseph, Practicing Caregiver)

Steps three and four get increasingly assertive, and step five is disengaging. Sometimes even assertive people can’t get some folks to back down. It’s OK to step away so you can stay as healthy and happy as possible, for yourself and your family.

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