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11 Ways A Caregiver Can Respond to Insensitive Comments

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11 Ways A Caregiver Can Respond to Insensitive Comments

By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor

Caregiving can be a difficult topic to talk about—especially if you’ve never been a caregiver.

This means that even the most well-meaning friends and family members may find themselves grasping for the right words to express their concern for a caregiver. Unfortunately, this often results in an, “open mouth, insert foot,” situation that can leave a caregiver fuming.

How should you respond when someone spouts off a smack-worthy statement about your life as a caregiver?

Cindy Laverty, caregiver coach, radio talk show host, and author of, “Caregiving: Eldercare Made Clear and Simple,” offers her advice on how caregivers can respond positively to some frustratingly common comments:

1. Comment: “Why are you having such a hard time being a caregiver?”
Caregiver response: “If you’d walked a mile in my shoes, then maybe you would understand. You haven’t had to do this yet, but I will definitely be there to support your if you ever do have to discover how hard being a caregiver is.” Depending on your relationship to the person who said the comment, you may or may not feel comfortable expanding on the particular difficulties you’re facing.

2. Comment: “We haven’t seen you in such a long time. Why don’t you get out more?”
Caregiver response:
“I’m having trouble finding time for myself because I spend so much time taking care of my mother. I would be willing to accept any help you could give me as I search for support and respite care resources.” The person making this comment may want to help, but probably doesn’t know how to, or whether you would accept their help. Laverty says that letting someone know you would accept their assistance can encourage them to reach out.

3. Comment: “You look really tired. Are you making sure to take care of yourself?”
Caregiver response:
“No, I’m not taking care myself like I should be.” Though it may be difficult, Laverty suggests trying not to take these comments too personally. The person saying this is probably just trying to express their concern for you.

Read More:
Gratitude Gives You Wings: 6 Tricks For Rising Above Negativity
Finding and Maintaining Your Personal Space While Caregiving
Your Life: Pleasantly Purposeful, Or Dull Drudgery? You Decide

How A Caregiver Can Respond to Insensitive Comments originally appeared on AgingCare.com.

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42 comments

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12:40PM PST on Dec 3, 2013

caregivers need all the support that they can get. i take my grandpa to adult daycare. fortunately, his medicaid pays for all his daycare expenses so I take him there often to get respite for myself.

12:38PM PST on Dec 3, 2013

my mom who is an RN thinks that my job as a caregiver to my grandpa (who is her dad) is easy breezy. she thinks I only sit on my a$$ and watch tv. wow! my mom's got a lot to learn and she's not even taking care of him.

12:35PM PST on Dec 3, 2013

i'm a caregiver to my grandpa and a single mom on top of that. i needed to read this article. thanks!

2:36AM PDT on Aug 6, 2012

Ispeci pa reci.

1:07AM PDT on Aug 6, 2012

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” Lao Tzu

2:37AM PDT on Aug 3, 2012

I found it best to simply steer clear of those people who didn't think before they spoke, it was too hard a job without idiots adding to the already stressful situation. I had to go to strangers for help, and thanks to them I didn't go insane myself, bless them for their help, I would have been lost without it.

2:29AM PDT on Aug 3, 2012

Thank you for this... it's all true. People sometimes have a hard time putting themselves in your shoes... or just minding their own business!

1:28PM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

The sad fact is that our government will pay to put your loved one in a "home" but refuses to fund home care even though it's cheaper and better for the patient. I write letters to my legislators trying to change the way we care for people in this country.

11:32AM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

Thanks

FYI Sorry friends,my profile is down (7/26/12) until care2 support
resolves their server issues.

11:13PM PDT on Aug 1, 2012

Bad questions need truthful answers.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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