Unwanted Caregiving Advice
"I am my father's caregiver. He lives in my home and requires 24-hour supervision. He needs help preparing meals, bathing, getting to appointments, and managing his finances. It's a tough job, but I don't regret it. What drives me crazy is the comments people make to me. I am frequently told I am doing too much. People flat-out tell me they would never do what I am doing. Some even suggest that I put Dad in a facility for my own health. The truth is I care for him because I want to. What do I say to people who give me their unwanted caregiving advice?" - READER
People will often imagine themselves in your situation and offer advice, sometimes to help and other times as pity. Either way, it sounds like you are not interested in anyone else's input right now.
Let's explore what is going on here.
- You are caring for your father.
- The work is challenging and round-the-clock.
- You are consumed by the work of caregiving.
- Your friends, family, and associates notice your situation.
- Some of them feel compelled to respond.
People who know you well likely knew you before you were a caregiver. If you are tired, short with people, or talk solely about your father, it will not be unusual for those who know you well to make comments and offer unsolicited advice. Friends and family do that. They try to help, right or wrong. It may not be the advice you want to hear right now, but it's what family and friends do.
I recommend a few things.
- Mention how important caring for your father is to you.
- Ask if you seem different, tired, or on edge.
- Be honest, openly communicating your caregiving challenges with the people who comment on your situation.
- As much as you wish to ignore them, listen to people's recommendations. This does not mean you have to follow their advice, but they may have been a caregiver and/or have useful tips for you.
- Be kind. We do not always know the exact right thing to say to our loved ones when they are struggling, but that usually doesn't stop us from trying.
Caregiving is a tough job, but it is certainly rewarding. It is easy to be sensitive when you are working so hard on something and others comment about the work you are doing. While you can tell them to mind their own business, you may be better off actually having a conversation with them.
I wish you the best!
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