I Can C.A.R.E.

g-j_sunSteve and I are part of a support group for people with early to moderate memory loss and their spouse. The group starts together and then breaks into separate groups for the caregiver and the caree. In my group, the caregiver has given us the acronym C.A.R. We should not confront, argue or rationalize with our caree.

I am tired of being told what I can’t do, which I know probably makes me sound like a spoiled child! With Steve, his cognitive problems aren’t severe, and I think that if he does something out of the ordinary, I should tell him. Is that confronting? If it was something I felt he had no control over, I wouldn’t say anything.

Sometimes I argue, but I don’t mean to. It starts out innocently enough, like a conversation, and then the discussion dissolves into more of a debate, and it’s always over something stupid. I try hard to keep my mouth shut.

I decided that I wanted to think of things I can do because there are too many things I can’t do any longer. For example, I can’t vent to my husband about something that happened and have any idea how he’ll respond. I can’t tell him my knee hurts because I just rammed it into the counter and expect any sympathy.  I added an “E” to C.A.R., and realized I can C.A.R.E., and came up with meanings for each letter.

C – cry, create, continue, call, change (myself)

A – adjust, acknowledge, advocate, allow

R – read, relax, reaffirm, rest, reconnect, reflect

E – enjoy, energize, exercise, escape, evaluate, educate

What would you add to the list?

Profile photo of G-J

About G-J

I am a caregiver for my 59-year-old husband, Steve, who was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment in December 2009. His employer put him on disability and he had to retire one year later when he couldn't return to work. I am also the mother to our son who is now a high school senior. We have a cat, Sagwa, who rounds out our family. In addition to blogging here, I volunteer at my son's high school in the scholarship office, teach a class I created called, "Keep Your Brain Buff" at our city's Senior Center, lead a writing group at the Alzheimer's Association, and advocate for people with all types of dementia. In November, I will be participating in my third Walk to End Alzheimer's.

10 thoughts on “I Can C.A.R.E.

  1. Profile photo of KathyKathy


    I hear ya! And even with Hubby as advanced as he is , I still find myself at times, not as often any longer, having to be right! “I’m right, I know it and you better understand that!” I think it’s natural especially when dealing with a spouse to have those moments like that.
    I LOVE that you C.A.R.E.! I want to CARE too!!

    • Profile photo of G-JG-J Post author


      That is exactly it! I’ve been frustrated by what I can’t do, because can’t I have the same issues with my spouse that I had before this?

      You are a champion CARE-er!

  2. Profile photo of ejourneysejourneys

    I love this list, G-J! And I can sympathize.
    I love a challenge, too, so I came up with these. :-)
    C – cherish, clarify, communicate
    A – accept (the things I cannot change), absorb and apply (information)
    R – relinquish (see “accept”), record (e.g., in blog, journal), recharge
    E – elevate, embrace, empathize (with self, too)
    Thanks for this great perspective.

  3. Profile photo of CasandraCasandra

    This is the exact thing I needed to read this morning. I can completely sympathize with your situation. I don’t think anyone argues with their caree because they want to be “right”, per se, but because they care so much that they want them to understand why the feel the way the do or think the way they do. But I LOVE your list because we can CARE and we do CARE. And I love the things that @ejourneys added in her post above :) Wonderful list… I am writing down and going to start implementing this immediately.

    • Profile photo of G-JG-J Post author


      Your comments made my day!

      You are exactly right! I’m not arguing with Steve intentionally, and then when it does get to that point, I feel even more guilty!

  4. Profile photo of PegiPegi

    Great list GJ, much more doable then theirs! A couple I might add

    C – Cheerful
    A Acknowledge
    R Respect
    E Escape when you need to and can


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