Being a caregiver can be one of the toughest jobs you will ever take on. At the same time, it can also be one of the most rewarding. If you’re a caregiver, it’s very likely you’ve heard some of the same statements over and over again from friends, family members or acquaintances.
In many cases, they aren’t trying to be unkind and actually have good intentions. Although the words may sting and it may hurt to bite your tongue, sometimes the best response is to stay calm, smile and nod. Or, let them know their comments hurt and explain why.
How many of the below comments have you heard before? Here are a few suggestions on how to respond
Many people may wrongly assume it’s easier to place a parent in a nursing home. However, it’s rarely as simple as making that call. Financial considerations, your parents’ wishes, and your own personal feelings of responsibility all play a role in that decision.
Depending on how you feel about this question and the person who asks it, you may offer them an explanation as to why you decided to care for your parent at home.
If a person has never had to care for a relative, they won’t understand the amount of pressure and responsibility that comes with the job. If you vent to a person, they may mistake “just blowing off steam” as frustration with your relative.
In reality, anyone can have a bad or stressful day, especially when it comes to caregiving. It doesn’t mean you resent your parent or loved one – or that you don’t want to care for them.
When someone poses this question to you, just let them know that you are doing the best you can. Offer to lend them some perspective to your situation and ask if they would like to visit your home. They may be able to gain a deeper understanding of your situation as a caregiver, offer fresh insights, or even help you with some of your caregiver duties.
Another phrase that’s usually said with the best of intentions, it can come off as condescending even when it is offered with sincerity. It also implies that you should have the time for a long walk in the park or taking in a movie.
In this instance, you may want to bite your tongue, or let them know you would love some more “me” time and ask them to help you brainstorm ways of doing so. Maybe they’ll be willing to help you care for your loved one for a day or can direct you to a professional in-home caregiver or agency that can watch Mom or Dad while you check out a movie or take a class.
On the surface, this question sounds great. While the person who makes this statement may not be entirely clueless, they may also be saying this out of polite obligation without any real intent of helping you.
On the other hand, they may actually want to help relieve your stress, but don’t quite know where to begin or the level of care your loved one needs. Speak up and let them know more about your situation and how they actually can help you, whether it’s running errands or simply sitting with your loved one for an hour or two.
Care giving can be an overwhelming job. Give yourself the credit you deserve, and try not to let simple questions get you down.
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