What should I say to friends who ask about my caregiving situation?

3 answers | Last updated: Oct 03, 2016
Kml asked...

My 77 year old mother has had a series of strokes since last summer. She now lives with my husband and I and I am her full time caregiver. What is a short, kind answer when friends ask how she is doing? "Fine" doesn't seem appropriate as her limitations are many. Is "we are taking one day at a time" acceptable? Its too depressing to go into detail about her health. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.

Expert Answers

As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved in eldercare. She is the author of Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders.

I am sorry to hear about your mother's declining health. It can be tempting to talk too much about caregiving to thoughtful people who inquire. At the same time, you want to be as authentic as possible. There is certainly nothing wrong with saying that you are taking it one day at a time. It prevents sharing intimate details about your mother. You might consider revealing a little more about yourself. For instance,"Cargiving isn't easy, but I am glad to have the opportunity to care for my mother." "Sometimes I get tired, but she has such courage." Or "When I go to bed each night, I know that my day was worthwhile." "Sometimes I feel sad for my mother's decline, but I am grateful that she can share her difficulty with me." "Sometimes, I want to give up and then I think what she is going through."

It is such an art to speak simply, from the heart. But if you can, you can help people to experience a little glimpse of a very real and human life experience.

Asking this question shows me that you are kind and concerned for others.

Community Answers

Kml answered...

Thank you Ann. Your response came on a day when I needed to be reminded how blessed we are that Mom is here with us. Blessings, kml

Ca-claire answered...

You can vary your answer based on who is asking. A lot of the time, I just tell them that Dad is very tired. Some friends I tell more to than others, each day you may have something different to say. Sometimes, just saying 'We have our ups and downs' is enough. It includes you, and is most likely true all the time.....