Coping with Changes in Family Roles

Adjusting to changes in family roles as a result of your family member’s injury may require that you learn new ways of coping. For example:

  • Share the work.
  • If the injured person can no longer perform his or her usual role, each family member should step in and fill part of the person’s role as best as possible. This can help your family adjust to the new day-to-day reality.
  • Protect your own physical health and mental well-being. If not, you may become emotionally overwhelmed by the uncertainty of your future.
  • Find a focus outside of the family. Leisure activities, hobbies and friendships can provide the balance you need in your life.
  • Get help and support. If you need assistance adjusting to all of the changes prompted by your loved one’s injury, contact the hospital social worker. You may want to talk to other family members, a close friend, your religious leader or other staff members at the hospital. Changes in the roles of family members do not come easily. They are often emotionally and physically stressful.
  • Some changes are temporary, while others may be permanent.
  • If you think you may need respite care please ask to speak with a social worker for a list of providers.
  • Accept all the help you can get.

Ways to Reduce Anxiety

While your family member is in the hospital, there are ways to reduce your anxiety:

  • Ask questions and state your worries to the health care team. Use your time in family-team meetings to full advantage. Write down your questions before each meeting so that you are prepared.
  • Know that you are considered part of the team, because you know your family member better than anyone else.
  • Where possible, accompany your family member to therapy sessions. You will be better able to understand the problems and their solutions.
  • Take part in outings and special activities.

Read what you can to stay informed. You may find the following resources helpful.

Ways to Reduce Anxiety