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It's kinda hurtful. Sorry if this sounds selfish.

I think the reason why most people don't ask the caregiver how they're doing is because they don't want to be asked to help out.
Asking the caregiver how it's going opens the door for them to tell the truth that they need help. The person asking knows this and doesn't want to take the chance of being asked to take on a few hours helping out with the elder the caregiver is providing for.
Usually in families when there's an elder who needs being taken care of the responsibility of that care will fall on one person whether they volunteer to do it willingly, or if everyone else volunteers that person unwillingly. No one wants to do it so the rest of the family will work together to make sure none of them have to. That's pretty much why it's rare for anyone to ask a caregiver how they're doing.
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Tashi5 Jan 15, 2021
Interesting. Good point.
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Chiming in here as someone who also had good friends who never asked how I was feeling. But then they had never been a caregiver and had absolutely NO CLUE how draining it can be. But confessions time...before I was a caregiver neither did I. So putting the emphasis of the question on the care receiver is the most natural thing. I now know better and always want to ask a caregiver how they’re doing. If you are the type of person who can speak up for yourself, you can educate them. When they ask, just say, I want you to know that my role is very difficult and I would love for you you to check in on me also.
And one other thing I want to add is that just because a parent is in a facility like AL or LTC doesn’t mean the caregiving child is foot loose and fancy free! No, they are still under stress and strain. I encountered that as well.
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PAH321 6 hours ago
Harpcat - Thank you for adding the last section regarding a parent in a facility. Even after Mom went into a facility, there is still so much to do and keep track of. For example (one of many), being the primary caregiver and emergency contact, I am ‘on call’ 24/7. I am the one who receives the calls from all the doctors offices during the day and the emergency calls at 3:00 in the morning when there is a problem to be handled while my family members go about their lives without that responsibility and sleep peacefully. And just having the general responsibility for a loved one is a role with so much weight that they don’t understand!
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Dear "HerShe89,"

I certainly can understand your feeling hurt and I don't think it's selfish at all. If you weren't a caregiver and you were talking to those same people, they would most likely be asking "you" how you're doing.

Personally, I think there are many reasons (and maybe some of the other posters may have mentioned some of them): There is less and less empathy from people in general much less in response to caregivers. Add to that the pandemic where so many are dealing with their own problems whether it be a job loss, extreme stress from all the mandates, loss of their own loved one etc. Some just ask about the person you are caring for if they are closer to that person, others don't want you to unload all your problems with being a caregiver onto them, some don't know what to say just like people who don't say anything when you experience a death, some may be afraid you may ask (or hint) for some sort of help and unfortunately, some just don't care.

I've experienced it with my mom's siblings and I've become used to it that I don't feel anything anymore. I have resorted to sending update letters or texts and that way I don't have to deal with the insensitivity. Also, when you don't "expect" something to begin with, you don't get disappointed and/or hurt. Then if they do ask, you are nicely surprised.
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I think people think they're being caring by asking this question. I have now started replying "At this point, he will probably out live me!" This may sound terrible, but some days I think it's not too far fetched! I have had to put all of my own health problems on the back burner!
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Emubird Jan 15, 2021
I say the same that they will outlive me that gets the message across. I have friends who are in the same situation as me and that helps. The hardest is when you explain to your mother and sibling how depressed it’s making you and get the answer ‘well step back then’ but no one else ever steps into the gap. Everyone has amnesia when it comes to acknowledging you’re not coping. But hey, I’m not bitter! 😡
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Your question doesn't sound 'selfish' and you have nothing to apologize for. Just feeling like you DO says it all, actually.

Sick or elderly people are generally the only ones that people think or feel for. Nobody worries about the caregiver; we're taken for granted and/or expected to break our backs and give our ALL with no thanks, no pay, and no recognition of any kind.

My DH spent the last 3 months going thru & recuperating from triple bypass surgery and lung surgery 2 weeks later. We have 7 children between us, and tons of other relatives too numerous to mention. Out of ALL of them, ONE daughter in law called to thank me for all I've done to nurse him back to health, and it's been A LOT, let me tell you. Oh, lots of people called to see how HE was doing, with a few casually asking as an afterthought how I was doing, not waiting for a real answer. My DD whose an RN DID look after me, thank God, because she's one of the few people who understand the stress and heartache a caregiver endures. The rest do not.

Whenever I leave a comment here on the forum, I remind the poster to take of him or herself, that the elder is NOT the only one who matters! When an elder or a family member is sick, EVERYONE suffers. We all need care and attention and pampering, not just the person who's sick or old. It irritates me to no end when only the elder is taken into consideration around here. Then we look at statistics where the caregiver dies BEFORE the elder in 40% of situations. Surprise surprise.

Don't be a statistic.
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Tashi5 Jan 15, 2021
Absolutely. Well said.
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Because they are afraid you will give a truthful answer 😉😂
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I agree that is hurts, but we can take control of the situation.

I think we are responsible for not waiting to be asked or doing as NHWM did and educating people.

My late step dad, moved into our family home. He insisted on saying Grace before meals, not a tradition in our home. He did the usual thanking God for the food in front of us etc, but never once thanked the cook, me. After a couple months, I put my foot down and when he started his Grace, I told him he had no right to thank God for the food in front of him, if he did not thank me for preparing it. That he would never eat another meal I prepared, as I took his plate away.

He blustered and blew, but I was firm in my resolve. After that night he always thanked me for preparing the meal as soon as he sat down and he was not allowed to say Grace out loud and we proceeded with our meal.

My Dad asks everyone, every morning how they slept, he seems to think it is an appropriate morning greeting. I do not sleep well, I have never slept well, being asked about my sleep is not a pleasant way to start my day. I have not seen my dad is over a year do to Covid, but I have to remind him every time I see him that being asked how I slept, is not ok.

Dad was well known in my home town, I get sick and tired of people asking if I am related to him, (unusual last name), then going on about how wonderful he is. Then being told how lucky I am that he is still alive etc. Yup, lucky to continue to face his horrific mental, emotional and financial abuse.

When I need support from friends, I tell them. I do not wait for them to ask me how I am doing. Yesterday was a rough day for me, I called a friend in tears, as I knew she would be there for me.
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ExhaustedPiper Jan 13, 2021
Tothill how are you doing today? I really hope the cry with your friend gave you much needed comfort. You deserve it.

Also I think you are a real bad a** for how you handled your late step-dad! Thanks for sharing that story, I can just picture it! Well done!
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They never ask because you're not the sick one. I'm sure they mean well, but have no idea what being a caregiver to someone with dementia entails. It's not like any other disease to care for. The person can't see the toll it's taking on you both physically and mentally. Don't take it personally- they don't know.
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I think it depends on the situation. If you are caring for a narcissist you are invisible as they take all the attention. If you are caring for a “normal” person and are doing it ably, again you are probably invisible as everything seems to be running perfectly to outsiders. If you are visibly struggling, then possibly some won’t ask as they don’t want to be roped in to helping. And finally, there are many people who just don’t see “care” as care, so they just won’t see you as a caregiver and therefore won’t ask you how things are going. It’s a lose lose situation !!
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marymary2 Jan 15, 2021
Great answer covering all the bases!
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It is hurtful and selfish but people are glad they are NOT the caretaker and either don't want to know or see and are afraid of hearing the truth. So they steer clear. Someone else is doing the dirty work. I can't think of a more difficult, thankless job than to take care of needy seniors with dementia.
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