How do I deal with uneducated and ignorant people?

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Hey all, I'd love some tips on how people deal with what I have come to call 'the uninitiated'. People who have never had to care for someone with a longterm, serious illness and who can unintentionally be very hurtful or insensitive. For me as a young adult I come up against the stereotype of 'grown child living in parents basement' pretty often and you'd be amazed at how people change their tune when I tell them I remained at home after university to help out my father, who is disabled. Suddenly I'm "Such a Good Daughter" where 2 minutes before I was "Freeloading isn't it shameful!" It just shows how isolated people are from the very idea of care-giving, they don't even consider it! It's also so hard to explain why certain activities won't work, without over-sharing my fathers' healthcare needs. Yes we would LOVE to accept the invitation to stay over with the rest of the family for Christmas Holiday...in their non-accessible house with non-accessible bathrooms. Yes water aerobics is a FANTASTIC source of exercise...for people who aren't incontinent. I've had to tell family (politely, when my father isn't around) to please, for the Love Of God, stop asking "when does your doctor say you'll get better"...MS is progressive and he will get worse! Having that brought up every visit by well-meaning friends/family was very disheartening for him. How is it that those who are so loving can't spare the time to google his condition??? Personal favorite: people assuming he has cancer. Runner up: people then commenting that "oh that's good!" when they learn he 'only' has MS. Sheesh. I'd love to hear about some of the situations you've been in and how did you handle 'uninitiated' remarks? I'm a very calm person so getting upset with people is rare, but it's so draining to educate people on such a tender topic over and over!

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I'm a little overwhelmed but THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!

Reading through all your comments has been amazing (as well as an odd mix of sad and motivating). I really appreciate each of you taking the time to write your experiences and thoughts out for me, I'm hoping to get some time to respond individually soon!
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suzeeQ: Oh, I am so sorry that someone was that insensitive to your LO. I, too, have had enough idiocy today when a local person thought that I shouldn't have let the proper authorities know that I witnessed an elderly woman crossing a 6-lane highway AT NIGHT, IN DARK CLOTHING, ON A CANE AND NOT ON A CROSSWALK! Sheesh!
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I nodded my head when I read that part of your post where people considered you a freeloader. While I always paid my own way, I never really climbed the corporate ladder or pursued a higher degree. Simply put, I always wanted to be available for my Mom, should she need me. Even before dementia struck and the debilitating issues of old age hit, I always felt that my Mom needed me more than a great career did. My Dad died when I was very young and I always felt that my calling in life was to look out for my Mom. So that's what I did.

My older sister actually had the nerve to say to me one day: "maybe it's good you never did anything with your life, cause then you wouldn't have been there for Mom"
Hmph.......I think I did the best thing I could do in my life which was to take care of Mom. Sad it took Mom dying for people in the family to finally realize what I had been doing.
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Isthisrealyreal - S.O.S. (stuck on stupid) that's the funniest thing I've read in quite awhile. Thanks for the laugh.
My mom just had a stroke and the amount of unsolicited advice I've received in the last two weeks has been astounding. I've decided it's just better to not mention it - even if it's staggeringly depressing for me to deal with this on my own. Better that than listen to people who have no clue.
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I can no longer visit my dad in th NH because he blames me, threatens to disown me and is verbally abusive. People,say well you need to go to be sure they’re doing everything right. No I don’t! I take care of his needs and finances from afar but I am not going to visit him. And if some,tells me that Then i know they don’t know what they’re talking about.
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my family sent golf balls for xmas to my elderly LO who is on dialysis and has lung cancer. seems a stark and insensitive reminder of something he can no longer do. i felt like calling them and giving them a piece of my mind, but like you, am a calm person and couldn't really envision myself doing that. it wouldn't do any good anyway. i chose to let it go and have been trying very hard especially during lent not to focus on such idiocy. this is an important labor of love that you're doing. good luck.
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cwillie: Wow...that person was ignorant. Anyone who has macular degeneration (myself included) knows that there is no operation to fix it.
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You have gotten some great advice on this forum. What is that saying "....until you walk in their shoes...". Between my brother, SIL, hubby & me we have 3 parents to help with ages 88-92. They are in relatively good health, are in IL & there are still challenges. I can't imagine what others go thru that I don't have to deal with...yet. Bland non-committal responses seem the best way to go. Check into this forum for support.
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My husbands deafness is caused by an accident that destroyed the nerves and the bone right behind the ear. This bone is important to hearing. I have a friend who keeps telling me how her boss did so well with a Cochlea implant. I have told her a number of times that this is not my husband's problem. My husband I don't really ever "got" my Moms Dementia thing. He kept saying to explain things to her even if she forgot. When we placed her in a NH he told my Mom she was there because we ran out of money. My daughter told him she didn't need to know that. He said she'll forget it. So why say it!
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For anyone on here who says grow thicker skin I'm just asking you have dealt with these situations yourself correct? I've been going to psychiatrists for depression as well as verbal abuse from my grandma (which I continue to get the limited bit I do see her since I purposely distance myself) and as my psychiatrists said it's not that easy the treatment you receive from these people wear your skin ridiculously thin so it isn't easy to take comments, suggestions, insults, ect.
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