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Just so we are clear: this narrative has nothing to do with my situation, my family or my LO’s family.

It has to do with a caregiving situation I heard about.

Woman of a certain age, retired, is sole caregiver for husband.  Eldest daughter who lives out of state, calls daily to offer Mother “advice,” which is mostly criticism about the way the woman is single-handedly dealing with the care of the husband 24/7.  When Mother tells daughter she is being judgemental, daughter gets huffy, hangs up and calls siblings to complain.

Where do I begin? Surprize the out of state daughter one morning explaining, while smacking the crap out of her, about what a disrespectful, ungrateful, unhelpful little bitch she is? Probably won’t happen..

So, you, the caregiver, listen up:  NO ONE has the right to an opinion about ANYTHING you do as a caregiver unless they are pulling a shift.  Period.  Especially if your family members have NO expertise in dealing with dementia.  And, even if you DO have an expert in the field, if they aren’t  pulling a shift, they can send money to help you pay for in-home care while you get some time off.

Trust me on this.  Your stress will be LESSENED when you lay  down the law.  I know you want to have touchy-feely relationships with your kids and sibs…but you don’t need dead weight.  AND anyone who isn’t there to dig in and help is dead weight.  You don’t have to cut off communication with folks. What you to need to say is. ” I welcome any ideas that will help us in our day to day struggle.  Please don’t offer any advice/opinions that are not helpful toward that end.”

By the way; “Pulling a shift” is what we kids, growing up in a union household, knew well. First, second, third shift. It’s what our Dads worked, or “pulled.”  There was a trickle down that economists were not aware of.  Even as kids we knew if you didn’t pull your shift , i.e. , do your chores and behave in school, someone would ( of course figuratively speaking) beat the crap out of you.  Figuratively speaking of course.