tulip-54125_640Last week, I shared some things to never say to a family caregiver.

This week, let’s talk about the things to say to a family caregiver. Here goes:

1. “I’ve made too much chili. So, I’m running over containers of chili that you can pop in the freezer to use when you need.”

2. “I’m running to the grocery store. What can I pick up for you?”

3. “What’s worrying you? How can I alleviate some of that worry?”

4. “How can I be a good sounding board for you?”

5. “What do you need?”

6. “I just want to let you know that I completely believe in you. And, I’m so proud of you.”

7. “How can I help?”

8. “Let’s talk about the holidays. What can we do to make the holidays good for you?”

9. “When’s the best time for us to visit?”

10. “How can we help during our visit?”

11. “Thank you. I so appreciate all you do.”

12. “Here, let me hold the door for you.”

13. “Come over for dinner tomorrow night. We’re just ordering pizza and I’d love you and (your caree) to join us.”

14. “I’d love to come for dinner tomorrow night. What if I bring the pizza and you make the salad?”

15. “I’m coming over Saturday afternoon to stay with (your caree) so you can take a break.”

16. “Here’s a $100 Visa gift card. Enjoy!”

What would you add?


About Denise

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched CareGiving.com in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.


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EdnaStephanie KleinerBrenda SpillersmomandmeGayle Gilbert Recent comment authors
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It is a really nice list. Problem is some of us caregivers are living at parents home and their neighbors are not willing to get involved. I would LOVE for my mother’s neighbors to just stop over and sayHI to her. Be NICE to me, but some times things are pushed under the rug! That is how it feels when all those around the one you are caring for act like no one lives next door anymore. It is sad but true. Can only count on family to come visit and wonderful friends, even if they live 2 hours away… Read more »

Gayle Gilbert

My husband is now deceased but I found that through our journey that no one really cared. I think that they are afraid of a person with Alzshimers and don’t know what to say, but anything would be better than being avoided . He was 53 when it started and he had Lewy-bodies along with Parkinson’s so as you know he suffered as well as myself. To get back to the question at hand—I would have loved any help that I could have been offered—-none was there–so people reach out and lend a hand it will mean so much to… Read more »


great list!
only thing I can think of is for out of town events that you are invited to:

“We would love for you to come for _______ but we know how hard it is for you to get away. We hope that you can come, but if you can’t we totally understand and will be thinking of you.”
(or an offer of covering some of the cost for outside help so you can make it which my sister did once that made me feel wanted and understood all at once.)


Thank you Denise! Wonderful list! You get it!


Some of those would be nice to hear, indeed. Though, I’d be careful with those who try to use #5 and #7. They’re so generic, it’s easy for the caregiver to feel overwhelmed trying to answer such a question.


“I can see how hard you’re working at this, and what great care _______ is getting because of everything you do.”
(I remember when my first daughter was 6 months old, and a stranger commented on how clean she was. That absolutely made my day–hey, it made my century. She’s 31 and I still remember it.)