Why Do Some Family Caregivers Get Stuck in a “Fixer” Pattern?

Being a family caregiver is often the best financial option for families. What they don’t think about is that while it saves their parents money, it can cost them emotionally, physically, and financially.

Being a caregiver is hard work. Your parents may not always like having your help and may be verbally abusive. Some family caregivers get bitten, kicked, and slapped by a parent who struggles with anger and agitation. There’s the emotional strain of watching your parent decline. There’s also the financial strain as you spend more time providing care than going to work.

One issue that doesn’t get discussed as much is the “fixer” aspect of family caregiving. Some family members try hard to fix everything that’s wrong that it wears down their emotions. Are you a fixer?

Examples of Fixer Patterns

Caregiver Cleveland, NC: Examples of Fixer Patterns

If a parent has dementia, you’ll often find them asking to go home. You want to keep them calm and happy. You want to fix the issue, so you start doing everything possible to make your parent happy. There have been cases of one woman moving her mom back to her mom’s hometown. She quit her job to make the move. Her mom still wasn’t happy and kept asking to go home.

People who are fixers tend to say yes to everything. They may be asked to watch a friend’s pet while the friend is out of town. It’s not convenient and requires schedule changes, but they don’t want to hurt feelings, so they say yes anyway. It’s okay to be helpful, but it’s not okay to wear yourself out trying to be helpful.

Learn to Step Back

Sometimes being a fixer is hard to combat. The longer the behavior goes on, the harder it is to fight it. Some of the reasons people become stuck in a fixer pattern are that they feel rude or selfish if they’re not focusing on the care of another.

They can’t solve the problems in their own lives, but they can try to solve problems others have. They also may not trust that the person can do things on their own. They may not feel it’s fair to make their parent have to work harder to complete something.

It’s okay to say no. If you’re helping your parents and have others asking you to do things, it’s okay to say no and focus just on one task. Your priority should be your own health and well-being, your children and spouse/significant other, your parents’ health and well-being, and then others if you have time and energy left.

To make sure you have time for everything you need, reach out to caregivers to help. Respite care enables you to spend time as you need without worrying if your parents are okay.


If you or an aging loved one are considering a Caregiver Cleveland NC, contact the caring professionals at Tender Hearted Home Care today. Call us at (704) 207-0265.

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