What Not to Say to a Caregiver

While I have not been in the caregiver role, I have compiled this list as a result of my conversations with caregivers about their experiences. For those of you who have been caregivers, what do you think about this list? What would you add?

I don’t know how you do it. You must be a saint. While a comment like this is meant to be a compliment and one that expresses admiration, caregivers often feel frustrated, anxious, depressed and uncertain at times. They may feel like there is something else they could or should be doing.

Have you asked the doctor about _____? or Have you tried _____? Caregivers often try everything and anything they can to help their loved ones. One of the last things they want is to be questioned or given suggestions by another person.

You look so tired. Caregivers generally have good reason for looking tired. They are busy taking care of and worrying about their loved one, often sacrificing their own care. They know they look tired. They don’t need it pointed out to them.

I know just how you feel. No one can understand what a caregiver is going through unless they themselves have been a caregiver. And even then, everyone processes emotions differently so one person’s experience may be completely different than another.

Don’t worry, it will be okay. Sure, it may be okay. But maybe it won’t. Telling someone that it will be okay without the absolute knowledge of that can make the caregiver feel like their feelings aren’t valid.

Make sure to take care of yourself. Caregivers often know they should take care of themselves too. Finding the time and energy to do so is another story. They are often too busy or exhausted to take care of themselves as well as they should.

You should _______ Once again, caregivers are doing the best they can. They don’t want to be told what they should or shouldn’t be doing because it may cause them to feel like they aren’t doing a good enough job.

I’m sure this is in God’s plan. Whether it is or isn’t in God’s plan still doesn’t make it okay that their loved one has to suffer.