Life Advice



Ask Amy: Caregiving spouse is overwhelmed

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Thanks so much for the insights in your column, which I read in the LA Times.

I look forward to your thoughts on this puzzler.

– M, in Santa Barbara, California

Dear M: I think it is normal, rational, and thoughtful to respond quickly and directly to a CaringBridge message or a group email when the message contains an important update about someone you care about.

I completely understand the stress that these messages can create.

However, even though you cannot control when or how people respond, you CAN control their expectations regarding a return response from you.


At the end of each of your email updates, you should include a couple of sentences like this: “Thank you all for your caring and concern. It means so much to both of us. I hope you understand that unfortunately I cannot respond promptly, if at all. I do read and appreciate each and every message, however. We are fortunate to have so many thoughtful friends.”

Put this message in bold print, so people make sure to see it.

It would also be helpful if you could assign a savvy and sensitive friend or family member to coordinate any needs that your circle of friends can fulfill, whether it is helping out for a few hours by cooking, cleaning, driving, or reading aloud to your wife while you rest.

Dear Amy: My daughter, “Shelley,” is in her mid-30s. She was married three years ago and, sadly, the marriage ended one year later.


swipe to next page



Bill Day Clay Bennett The Pajama Diaries John Branch John Darkow Milt Priggee