Sharing the chores: How do you do it?

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2012-04-15 21:11:11 -0500
Started 2012-04-11 22:39:02 -0500

I recently posted a new “Chronic Communication Tip” in the “Living with Diabetes” area. This tip is focused on ways to get everyone in the family involved in sharing the workload at home, helping to keep the home running smoothly and feeling involved.

Here is a link to it:

When a parent has a chronic condition, household routines, including the chores, can get disrupted. For example, some days, Mom or Dad may not feel like getting the dishes done, or you might be having frozen food for dinner, or fast food sometimes. Or the laundry might not get done every Wednesday. Mom or Dad may have trouble holding up their end some days, or have to modify their activity levels.

If both parents are in the house, maybe the other one takes over and do more of the work. Or not. Either way, kids see that something is different. And while adults don’t like change, children like it even less. Even small changes in routine can leave them feeling scared.

I am really interested in how you are handling the workload at your house. Have you had to make any adjustments in what you do around the house? Have your families pitched in?

Any tips that you want to share on how you handle the chores at our house? Any advice for getting your family members to pitch in? Need some ideas from us on how to get the conversation going?

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

25 replies

jimLE 2012-04-15 13:48:55 -0500 Report

1st of all.i moved into here knowing my mom can do only so much around here due to her health n all..and because of that.i knew to begin with that i'll be doing most of the house work and all the yard work around here.and it seems like im doing more n more with each passing month..and as for dealing with it all.i simply get away from it all for a lil while.even if it's to just go fishing for an hour or 2.there's a creek that flows through the property here.and on one part of it is a waterfall..i fish there,or i just kick back n take it easy n enjoy the area..and yes its beautifull out there..most times i take my pomarainian with me..she loves it there also..and there's one thing im doing for my self as well as for my mom..i've been fixing up a small area in one side yard for our lawn furniture in a shaded area so we can sit in the the one that does at least 90% of house work simply because mom aint up to that much.pluse she just got out of hospital from haveing clostridium difficile and still geting over it.but you know what? i dont mind so much.because you see.she got pregnat with me then raised me while puting up with me at far as im is now my turn to do for her now..

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-04-15 21:11:11 -0500 Report

Hi wolfie,

Nice to be in touch with you. Thanks a lot for jumping in here.

You have a great attitude, and your mom is fortunate to have you. I felt the same way when I needed to take care of my mom. She did it for me, for a long, long time. So it was my turn to step in.

You said something really important here. Care for the caregiver. Getting some time to go off and spend some time by yourself, getting recharged, thinking, relaxing. We all need that, and caregivers really need it. Creating an area where you can spend some time relaxing together is also a great idea. It's not all about getting the chores done.

Thanks again.

I hope your week gets off to a good start!


TsalagiLenape 2012-04-13 08:51:20 -0500 Report

Well I am the only workhorse here in the household. FIL has cancer of the prostate and is 75. Daughter who should and could help does nothing or minimal at that. So on my days off from work, I do what I can. I am not going to be the Queen of household Clean but its better than doing nothing. Besides it drives my daughter crazy when I am working doing the housework and still moving on. LOL Otherwise, just doing it. Hugs

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-04-14 09:27:26 -0500 Report


Great to hear from you. Thanks! I know that you work very hard without much support. That's gotta be rough. Good idea to do what you can but not push yourself too hard, to take good care of yourself as much as you can. Nobody has to be perfect, nobody has to be Martha Stewart except for Martha Stewart.

Hope you are doing well!


JSJB 2012-04-12 04:00:53 -0500 Report

Since being pre diagnosed with DB nothing has changed in the house chores. My wife has her health problems but continues to be active. I still work and come home to do chores around the house. I have two sons living at home who are a big help but I feel keeping active helps the body. There are times I act like I am still in my 20's which bugs my grand daughter who tell me to act my age but if I did "hate to think what I would be like" I would not survive. I never think I am old or have a condition, maybe that is what keeps me going and feeling young. Bike season is around the corner and the veggie garden needs some work.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-04-14 09:25:27 -0500 Report


Thanks a lot for checking in here. I haven't been in touch with you for quite awhile.

I like your attitude, staying as active as possible, taking the best care of yourself possible. I am not a physician, but from my experience it seems to me that it is important is to stay active but also not to push yourself too hard. Sounds like you have found an activity level that works for you. And it sounds like your sons are pitching in along with you.

As I get older myself, I constantly tell myself that age in all in the mind. Sometimes by body begs to differ.

Thanks again!


jayabee52 2012-04-13 15:58:25 -0500 Report

How is one "pre diagnosed with DB"?

JSJB 2012-04-14 17:22:36 -0500 Report

By a Doctor. From what I understand you do not have it but you sugar levels are high enough to worry about it and you are told you might get it if you do not change your ways so I guess that is what pre diaqnosed means. What is your meaning of it????

Caroltoo 2012-04-14 17:25:00 -0500 Report

That you have all the markers and are in the process of developing full blown diabetes, but your levels are not quite bad enough yet to trigger the formal diagnosis. Unless you make positive changes to stop it from happening, it will become diagnosible as diabetes.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-04-14 20:15:08 -0500 Report

Carol, this is really interesting. I wondered how that worked. I have also hear people refer to themselves as pre-diabetic.

JSJB 2012-04-15 07:12:42 -0500 Report

This is what my doctor said to me when he saw my sugar levels. The time it went to 165 he refered to it as "that is diabetes".

Caroltoo 2012-04-15 00:20:19 -0500 Report

I may be a point or two off here, but I believe it's fasting BGs of 120-125. Diabetes is arbitrarily set at 126.

JSJB 2012-04-15 07:16:32 -0500 Report

The doctor never gave me any ranges but gave me a meter and said to monitor my sugars in the am before breakfast and drinking any coffee and that would be between 4 and 5 am. When I first started I was in the 140-175 range. With dieting and exercise and meds, this morning read 93. Looking good.

red flower lady
red flower lady 2012-04-12 00:39:35 -0500 Report

We taught our children at a young age to pick up after themselves, so fortuately it has stuck now that they are grown. I was always a neat freak and made it fun for the kids. I let them be messy, but then clean it up. So, everyone pitches in and when I'm having a hard time, they help out more. If it was up to them, I wouldn't be allowed to do any chores, but you know, I like doing what I can.

It is so important for family to help each other. I tell friends to tell family that if they don't like doing chores, then tell them to clean up as they go along and it will make things easier for all. There is no sense in doing something twice.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-04-14 09:21:02 -0500 Report

Hello my friend!

I often find that children who have a parent with a chronic condition are more likely to learn how to take responsibility for themselves, to keep their rooms clean and their beds made. They get that their parents need them to be on board with keeping the house in order, and that their chores won't magically be taken care of for them. I also think that, in the process, they may .learn to be more compassionate, to recognize that their wants and needs don't always have to come first. They learn that we are all in this together.

Thanks a lot!


Caroltoo 2012-04-14 11:59:22 -0500 Report

That is the "up" side of this experience. The "downside" is the possibility that they loose their childhood through becoming parentified. It's important for their mental health throughout life, that they be allowed to be children while also learning sooner that most, how to be helpful children. Definitely a "can do" situation, just requires a little conscious balancing by mom/dad.

Caroltoo 2012-04-12 00:04:51 -0500 Report

Well, in my house, if it is done, it is done by me. My dear Wayne wants to help, but having Alzheimer's and being blind, makes him roughly as helpful as the average 4 years old, which means he is the maker of messes, but does not clean things up well.

For me the key is organization. We live in a two story townhouse. I collect things that need to go up and make one trip. I organize the house by areas, so what I need is nearby. I try to handle things only once so the house stays neat and I don't have to do as much picking up.

When I shop, I do paper goods and such in volume and go to that store no more than once a month, usually once every two months. Produce I do weekly so it is fresh. When I bring things home, I clean and cut all produce before I put it in the refrigerator so it is ready to use.

When I cook, I use fresh food, but prepare enough for Wayne and I for two meals and additional for a couple meals for me. He likes cereal every night, so I eat some lunch leftovers. The extra meal goes in the refrigerator or freezer. I do a lot of stir-frys which are quick and easy.

When I am tired or running low on energy, I quit and do something that is nourishing for me. I take time to walk in the grass, smell the flowers, and feel the sand between my toes. If I don't care for me, all of these other things including caring for Wayne, will simply not happen. My health is my number one priority because all else flows from that.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-04-14 09:15:14 -0500 Report

Hi Carol!

Nice to hear from you. Your post has a lot of helpful insight into how it is possible to blend self-care into taking care of someone else. You are really being proactive here, saving on the wear and tear on yourself while you also take care of your husband. Fantastic. You're right, the key is organization, planning ahead. And you said it better than I every could. Your health is your number one priority, if you don't take good care of yourself, you can't take good care of anyone else, at least not for the long-term.

Thank you so much!


Caroltoo 2012-04-14 11:38:33 -0500 Report

A week or so ago, I took some "me time" and now I have trimmed palm trees, beautifully cascading and blooming bougainvillea, and freshly sprouted cucumber and squash plants. I find gardening therapeutic. Yesterday, we (Wayne and I, as well as the family cat) spent an afternoon on the lanai enjoying the breeze and the sun. I read and sipped iced tea, he sat and watched me which is one of his favorite activities these days since he is increasingly without words.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-04-14 20:21:25 -0500 Report

Carol, that sounds fantastic. What a restful afternoon, for you and for Wayne. I don't know if there are words to describe what that experience must have been like for him. Hope you are having a restful Saturday.