How to Care for a Difficult Relative

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Avoid Power Struggles

Tug of War

Let your family member retain as much control and independence as he or she can handle. Too often, well-intentioned family caregivers rush in and take over for a relative who is aging, ailing, or disabled. But if you stop and consider how you would feel if someone prematurely took away your independence or control over your daily routines, you would probably feel resentful or rebellious against that person.

Try This Exercise: Sit down with your family member and have a brainstorming session where you discuss:

  • "What are the things you want me to handle for you?"
  • "What are the things you absolutely want to keep doing for yourself without any interference from me?"
  • "What are the things for which you want a little assistance but you still want to make sure you're in charge?"
  • Related Topics: Health Support
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