How Do I Answer Those Questions I Don't Want to Answer?


How Do I Answer Those Questions I Don't Want to Answer?

question.svgDear Denise,

I care for my husband who has early stage Alzheimer's disease. I've learned that others who ask me how my husband is doing really don't want to know. Usually, I just tell those who ask that he's doing amazingly well for someone who is almost 90.

I also do not want to talk about my problems that I face every day because it seems disloyal to him, it's none of their business and sometimes I think people are just digging for gossip. And, sometimes I don't want to talk about it because some days are just really hard for me.

So, how do I answer questions that I don't want to answer?


Staying Silent

P.S. It is a very curious thing that no one asks me how I am!

Dear Silent,

Not wanting to share information can leave us as tongue-tied as not knowing how and how much information to share.

I love your answer ("he's doing amazingly well for someone is almost 90"). It's all true and it all focuses on what he can do.

When those ill-intended individuals ask how your husband is, you can use answers like:

"Well, dementia can certainly turn a day upside down. But, we're a great team so we manage."


"I learn more about dementia every day. A few great resources for me have been (Alzheimer's Association, or whatever you want to share). I can give you more information about these organizations if you have more questions."


"Dementia is a wrinkle I'm learning to iron. I'm curious, though, as to why you ask. Do you have a family member with dementia?"

If you wish to only share a little, feel free to turn the tables and ask, "How are things for you?" I love that you understand that you only have to share what you choose to share. This took me a long time to learn--I really let others determine my choice for me.

It is sooo odd that others won't ask about the family caregiver. During your conversations, feel free to volunteer about how you're managing without waiting to be asked. Share about your husband and then add, "I had a bad day yesterday but am feeling better today. This is harder than I thought it would be. I'm grateful for those who support me along the way."

How do you respond to questions about your family member's health? And, how do you manage when others don't ask how you're doing? Please share in our comments section, below.

(Do you have a question you'd like me to answer? Just send me an email.)


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I usually just say something generic like \"about the same\" or \"hanging in there\". I think most people just want to be polite and don't really want to hear details. I DO have lots of people ask me how I'm doing. I guess I'm blessed with many very considerate friends who understand how tough caregiving is.\r\n\r\nMy dad is the one who usually floors any new hospice nurse who comes over. They will ask him how he is doing and he usually says, \"Another day above ground\". You should see the look on their faces, lol! Hey, my dad has always said, \"Tell it like it is\"!!