Fall River Jewish Home

What Not to Say to a Caregiver

If you are the friend of someone who is a caregiver, it can be difficult to stand back and see the toll it often takes on them. Caregivers often end up in worse shape than the person they are caring for. But for many, it is a labor of love. So how can you talk with them about their loved one and the challenges of caregiving without hurting their feelings? The caring team at Fall River Jewish Home has a few phrases you should avoid and some suggestions for what to do and say instead:

• “You look so tired. Are you sure you shouldn’t put your father in a home?”
• “Your Mom always was a handful. Now that she has Alzheimer’s disease, why do you even visit her? I thought you put her in a home?”
• “You would feel better if you got out more.”
• “You shouldn’t feel guilty about…”
Instead, think about saying and doing things to support how they feel. For example:
• “Can I come and visit with your mother for a few hours on Tuesday morning? You could run errands or get your hair done and I’ll stay with her”
• “I’m going to the grocery store and the drug store tomorrow. Do you need anything from either place?”
• “Have you considered letting your Mom have a respite stay in an assisted living for a few days? She could participate in their activities and you could have a few days to rest so you can continue taking great care of her.”
• Don’t overlook the power of a nice handwritten “thinking of you” card every week or two. Just to let the caregiver know you haven’t forgotten about them while they are so busy taking care of their loved one.

The Association of Jewish Family & Children’s Agencies has put together a comprehensive database of information. You can search their site to see what resources may be available in your area. Their helpful site includes resources from home care companions to senior services and bereavement support. Find them at: http://www.ajfca.org/find-a-service-near-you

Are you a caregiver? What are the best and worst things well-intentioned friends have said to you?

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