How Well Do You Bounce Back?

How well do you recover from your day-to-day challenges as a family caregiver? Take our quick test to find out.

A. Your sister-in-law pops in for another visit–unannounced, of course. And, of course, it’s on your worst day: You’re still in your pajamas (splattered with oatmeal, smelling of, well, just smelling), your husband is angry and defiant (I won’t go to adult day care today!) and your dog is throwing up.

The door bell rings. It’s her: “I thought I’d drop off a plant for Frank on my way to work,” she says. Before you can say another word, she’s in your house and staring at her brother. And, then lashing out at you: “What have you done to him?”


1. Let her have it, venting all the frustrations and anger you’ve held in for the past five years.

2. Take a deep breath and explain: We’re having a bad day. But, I’m so glad you’re here. I’d love your help. I’ll just run upstairs and take a quick shower while you visit with Frank. (Before you’ve finished your sentence, you’re calling to her from the upstairs bathroom–you don’t give her a chance to refuse. You’ve amazed yourself at your ability to bound up the stairs in seconds. You can’t remember the last time you moved so fast.)

3. You sit on the couch and cry. This is too hard!


B. Your mother calls you, for the 20th time, at work to let you know that she can’t find her purse. Yesterday, she called you, at work, 25 times to let you know she had missed her dental appointment. You’re going to lose your job if this keeps up.


1. Quit your job, even though your lack of income jeopardizes your future.

2. Call your local Area Agency on Agency, local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, your church. There’s got to be a solution to this–and you’re going to find it.

3. Put your phone on “Do Not Disturb.”


C. The home health aide is late–again. You’ve spoken to her about how important her promptness is to you. But, she seems to go by a different clock than you.


1. Tell the aide you’ve changed her start time, to 9:30 a.m. You’d like her at your house at 10 a.m. You know she’ll be on time now. That’ll teach her!

2. Call her supervisor and explain the situation. What suggestions can she offer to solve the problem?

3. Do nothing–what can you do? It’s hard to find good help.


D. The nursing home staff promised to keep track of your mother’s laundry. But yet another visit uncovers yet another problem–no matching socks. Your mother is wearing a pink sock and a yellow sock. Neither of which match her favorite purple housecoat. This makes you crazy.


1. March to the administrator’s office, bursting into a closed-door meeting. You demand to know: Why am I paying you $4,000 a month to dress my mother like a clown?

2. Decide to do your mother’s laundry. Actually, you’ll ask your granddaughters to help.

3. Spend the rest of the visit looking for that one pink sock and that one yellow sock. Somebody’s got to be wearing them!


What’s your score?

Mostly 2’s: You’re in good shape! You face everyday challenges well, compromising when necessary, but never giving up that solutions exist. You’re resilient!

Mostly 3’s: You have good intentions, which will help you on your way to being resilient. But, you struggle to find the positives in situations which can lead to effective solutions. And, you give up too easily. Work on strengthening your emotional and physical well-being.

Mostly 1’s: You’re a walking time bomb! Your anger and mistrust seem to get the best of you–and every challenging situation you encounter. Practice keeping your patience, thinking of creative and unusual solutions, and viewing a situation from all sides. Sometimes, all is not what it seems.

3s Comments

  1. 2’s are definately the right choice but in my life, I have many 1 and 3 moments. I basically try to do the right thing and usually my breakdowns occur after the company has left. When my dad was in the Convalescent home, I was bringing his laundry home to do it and it still didn’t matter, I would go in and I’d see other people wearing his clothes, or he would be wearing something that wasn’t his. After awhile, it’s just not worth the fight. The visits were the important part. I miss my daddy. :( What an experience though, with he and my grandmother, visiting a convalescent home daily. You sure see a lot and learn a lot.


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