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