5 Things You Shouldn’t Say to Family Caregivers

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If you have a friend or relative who’s a family caregiver, it’s important to be sensitive. The caregiver’s job is already challenging, and misunderstandings caused by others could lead to further stress. When chatting with a family caregiver, here are a few things you should never say. 

1. “It’s Just Too Difficult for Me to See Your Loved One Like This”

Saying this can be extremely hurtful to a caregiver. It implies you either think the caregiver doesn’t feel as strongly about his or her loved one’s condition as you do or you recognize the caregiver’s challenges and just don’t care. It’s better to say something like “It’s hard for me to see your loved one like this, but I’m trying to get past it so I can visit and support you.” Acknowledge your failure to visit is a personal problem you’re trying to overcome. 

2. “Let Me Know if You Need Anything”

If you want to help, avoid vague statements like this. It can be difficult for caregivers to immediately think of something to ask for because they actually need help in hundreds of little ways. Instead of leaving everything up to the caregiver, volunteer to help in specific ways. Ask if you can do things like pick up prescriptions or bring over a couple of home-cooked meals. 

You can support a family caregiver by offering to help him or her find high-quality professional assistance. Caring for senior loved ones can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

3. “God Never Gives Us More than We Can Handle”

This and similar well-meaning religious platitudes, such as “It’s part of God’s plan,” are generally a bad idea. If the caregiver isn’t religious, these statements could seem irrelevant. If the caregiver does share the same faith as you, these sorts of statements may be discouraging. It can end up sounding like you think the caregiver deserves this or you think his or her doubt is sinful. 

4. “You Look Really Tired”

You might be saying it to be sympathetic, but to a caregiver, it may sound like you’re stating the obvious in an unhelpful way. Caregivers know they’re tired, look rough, and feel worn out, but they often don’t have the time to care for themselves. If you really want to help, offer ways to help the caregiver take care of him or herself, such as giving him or her a gift card for a spa day or offering to run errands for him or her. 

If you’d like to offer truly helpful advice, suggest hiring a professional caregiver. Caring for a senior loved one can be rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming for family caregivers who have other responsibilities they need to focus on. For these families, the perfect solution is respite care. Clearwater families rely on our caregivers whenever they need time to rest, work, run errands, and even go on vacation. 

5. “Why Don’t You Just Put Your Loved One in a Nursing Home?”

Caregivers constantly hear this suggestion, and it’s always frustrating. Most people who say this have no clue just how complicated and financially challenging it is to find a safe, reliable nursing home. When people say this, it can sound like they’re dismissing the caregiver’s hard work and suggesting he or she is just choosing to make life difficult. 

The best thing you can do for a family caregiver is offer your unconditional support and appreciation for all he or she does. In Clearwater, home care service agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. Contact one of our experienced Care Managers today at (727) 330-7862 to learn more about our reliable in-home care services.

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