I did then what I knew how to do

The 3rd C that Makes All the Difference: Communication with Family: Day 10 of 30 day Family Caregiver Series

Day 10 of 30 in Family Care giving Series

The 3 C’s that make all the difference:

Communication with Family 


We are in day 10 of our 30-day family caregiver series on family advocacy.  In the spirit of giving support and advice for caregivers, throughout this series, you will have the tools, checklists, and information needed to effective serve as a loved one’s advocate.  We kicked off this series with a top 10 list of what is means to be an effective advocate. (Day 1) then, I gave you 3 reasons why advocacy is a big deal (Day 2).  Then, I shared the ultimate guide to staying organized; (Day 3).  I showed you ways to be an advocate and affirmed that sometimes it’s okay to upset the applecart on  (Day 4). We covered the four things our lives depend on in (Day 5).  Then, we tackled self-care and advocacy (Day 6). Next, we discussed Frustration, Guilt and Overwhelm (Day 7). Then, we discussed communication with family and the importance of asking for what you want and need. I also shared some specific things others can help with as an idea of ways to get support (Day 8). Then, we discussed communication with SELF, some things to remember about self-talk and some self-care strategies. We discussed communication with family on (Day 9).

If you are a family caregiver advocate or know someone who is an advocate, this is for you. If you anticipate you will make health care decisions for a loved one, this is also for you.Click to tweet If you would like to avoid the care giving mistakes I made, this is definitely for you. Lastly, this is for you if you think you may need care one day.

Communication with Loved One (Day 10)


Day 10: Communication with Family



“ I did then what I know how to do. Now that I know better, I do getter.” ~ Maya Angelou


There are so many aspects of communicating with family to cover when talking about care giving. The stage of care giving dictates your needs and what kind of communication you need. For purposes of this post, I am going to cover some general communication success tips:


  1. You must have the conversation with them about their needs, wants and wishes. This should occur prior to an ‘event’ requiring care.
  2. Treat them with respect and dignity. Remember that if your loved one can’t physically speak, they DO hear you and may be able to understand what you say. Treat them as if they can hear you always.
  3. Ask for their feedback along the way on decisions affecting them.
  4. Meet them where they are at.
  5. Put yourself in their shoes.
  6. Do what you can to draw out special memories, wishes, regrets, etc… Anything you can do to help them be at peace; regardless of whether the care you are giving is short or long term, is time well spent and could be the single biggest thing you do for their peace of mind.
  7. Discuss boundaries, roles and responsibilities. Family dynamics can be, well, interesting… You need to have roles defined as best you can to minimize any ill-will or communication issues along the way.
  8. Remember that they feel as bad, if not more so,  about the situation they are.  I remember my dad saying to me one time, “ I always thought that if I ever needed my children to put my britches on for me that I would just go into the desert and die.” While the specific language may differ, I’m sure my dad was not alone in his thinking!


These are just a few of the things to remember when communicating with family and loved ones affected by care giving. Remember, regardless of their age, illness, or disability, they are people too.

kick_TandyElisala_Feb2014MOST OF ALL… know, feel and believe that EVERYTHING you are feeling is completely normal. You are not a bad person for thinking non-loving thoughts at times. You are a champion. You are a rock star. You are demonstrating courageous acts of unconditional love. Know you are not alone.


Next up:  The surprising truth about who needs an advocate (Day 11-13)

  1. Who needs one (Day 11)
  2. Independence depends on this (Day 12)
  3. Myths and fears about needing care (Day 13)

Part 6:  5 ways you must keep your loved ones safe (Day 14-18)

Part 7:  What? I have how much time to decide where they go? (Day 19 – 30)

Your Turn:  Are you or have you been a family care giving advocate? What is the one thing in this post that resonated most with you and why? What do you think is the most challenging aspect of being a caregiver? Please comment below!


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Tandy Elisala

Family Caregiver Coach, Cancer Empowerment Advocate and Chief Inspiration Officer at Center for Inspiring Greatness | Empowered Family Caregiver
Tandy Elisala is passionate about helping family caregivers go from being overwhelmed and stressed to empowered and calm. Tandy went through cancer four times and learned how to heal using conventional, complementary, and alternative therapy. Tandy left her corporate career to take care of both parents simultaneously while raising three kids as a single mom. She took care of both parents for 2 1/2 years until their respective deaths. Tandy now teaches what she learned on her journey. Tandy is a family caregiver coach, a multiple best-selling author, inspirational speaker and mom to three adult kids, one angel dog and one diva cat.

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7 replies
  1. Peggy
    Peggy says:

    Holy Smokes Tandy! We have so much in common! Last week I released my podcast with Lorena Bathey on “Who Cares for the Caregiver.” Such an important topic!

    While I’ve only kicked cancer’s butt once (and once is more than enough, no competition with ya on this!) today I celebrate my 10 year cancerversary 😉

    Thanks for stopping by my website today and leaving such a phenomenal comment! xoxo Peggy

    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      Hi Peggy, we certainly do! You’ve been on my list of people to connect with for a few reasons. Congratulations on your 10 year cancerversary:-) That’s a great word! I became an affiliate while I was on your site and will connect with you shortly.

    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      Hi Peggy, we certainly do! You’ve been on my list of people to connect with for a few reasons. Congratulations on your 10 year cancerversary:-) That’s a great word! I became an affiliate while I was on your site and will connect with you shortly.

  2. Katrina
    Katrina says:

    I have had many friends that have become care givers to their parents. I have watched, stood by, and listened when they just needed to vent. Taking care of a parent isn’t always easy but I believe that if they can spend their life worrying about you and taking care of you.. then being there for them is a blessing.

    Thank you for giving and reaching out to those that need to hear what you are sharing.

    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      Thanks so much for your post and your support Katrina.I am so excited to share my tips and tools with family caregivers to prevent the mistakes I made.

  3. Lisa Mallis
    Lisa Mallis says:

    Great post! As I’m reading your tips, I keep thinking “start with the end in mind” and “direct communication”. What does your loved one want? What are the roles of all the family members? When you know the desired end result you are so much better equipped to communicate that information effectively.

    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      Hi Lisa, thanks for your comments. I appreciate your comments and you are spot on. Beginning with the end in mind and understand the end state is exactly the first critical component of caregiving.


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