Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. — Dale Carnegie, American writer
Where do you get off criticizing me without having walked a few miles in my moccasins?
Before I started caregiving for my mom, I’d never given care to anybody.
Oh, sure, I tended plants, pets, and my son, but that’s different. Eventually, the plants died, the pets and son became self-sufficient, and my tasks ceased.
Caring for an aging parent is a full-time gig. Driving them to doctor’s appointments, the beauty shop, the bank. Picking up groceries or prescriptions. Escorting them to church or the accountant. Helping them with meal preparation. Tending the flowers they enjoy looking at.
You get the idea.
It also means full-time worries over them falling, making sure they take the right medicine at the right time, listening to a (yet another) recitation of their ailments, and getting them to the ER when they panic.
What it doesn’t come with is an instruction manual. Every case is different. The cared-for person expects a certain amount of help, and the caregiver seeks to please … within reason.
So why do perfect strangers feel compelled to sit in judgment over how I’m doing these tasks? Can’t they see this is the best I can do right now?
One evening, when I was helping Mom down the stairs after Mass, a woman criticized me for “going too fast.” Gee, I thought I was protecting Mom from being knocked over by the able-bodied parishioners racing to the parking lot.
And the other day when I was headed out of town, the woman who’d agreed to drive Mom to an appointment (and was getting paid to do so) demanded, “Where’s Debbie?”
Like I’m expected to be around 24/7 and not take a day off now and then.
My point is, instead of finding fault, why don’t you offer to lend a hand? Smile. Sympathize. Understand.
Even a compassionate “I admire you for trying” would be welcome.
Remember, one day you, too, might be the caregiver … or need someone to care for you.