Posted in after the diagnosis, care for the caregiver, Caregiving, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness, Uncategorized

Caregivers are Undercover Agents

Welcome to Caregiver Friday!

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about all the roles that the caregiver takes on to support someone they love who is sick (or needs extra care like older adults). One of the roles that the caregiver takes on is that of undercover agent. You are the person who watches and takes mental and sometimes written notes about what’s going on with the patient. See the person who is facing a health challenge doesn’t realize that they leave clues wherever they go. It may things like what food gets thrown in the garbage or the amount of time someone spends in the bathroom. You, the caregiver, knows all, sees all and eventually will tell all.

You are the doctor’s first line of defense in finding out the truth about the patient. It’s important that you, if possible, go with the patient to their doctor’s appointment. Unfortunately, patients have a tendency to either downplay the serious of their side effects or their health in general or they out and out lie. That’s when the doctor turns to you and says “So what have you noticed since the last visit?” At that moment the patient is probably sinking into their chair because they’ve been busted.

What the patient doesn’t realize is that by you telling the truth, you help the doctor and in turn help them feel better, increase their hope and are a part of improving their quality of life. It’s not about being a snitch…it’s about wanting the best possible outcome for the patient. Whether the patient is embarrassed about their experience or feel they should be able to “handle it” , why suffer if you don’t have to.

Be proud of your status as an undercover agent. It may cause some tension at home, but in the long run the patient will understand that you are serving them in the highest way possible, by helping them get well.


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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