There’s often little or no formal caregiver training on what to do after someone passes.

And knowing what to say in a sympathy card can feel like walking a minefield.  You want to express your sympathy while giving comfort to the bereaved and not offending.

Are you also feeling guilty about surviving?

Many caregivers do. Or maybe you’re just at a loss to know what to say or how to say it.

It’s understandable—especially when you’ve never experienced the loss of someone close to you.

I’ve seen grieving from both sides.  I’ve grieved as a professional caregiver and tried to comfort the bereaved.  I’ve also grieved from deaths of those close to me.

And I’ve seen good and bad sympathy notes and cards.

What To Say In a Sympathy Card: What Should a Caregiver Write In a Sympathy Card?


What should a caregiver write in a sympathy card?

There’s no one answer to this question.   It must be individualized to the given situation.   Obviously if you’ve been a caregiver to someone for years that’s quite different than taking care of them for hours or days before their passing.

Some general guidelines for what to write in a sympathy card apply…

  • It’s not about you. It’s all about the deceased and the bereaved.
  • Kindness and gentleness can go a long way. Just taking the time to write a line or two or a brief note can mean a lot to a grieving family.
  • Sharing a happy memory or quote from the deceased is often nice. This is not the time to complain about the deceased or probably to crack a joke.  Be respectful and courteous.   Stories are very powerful, and a note of sympathy can be read over and over by the bereaved.
  • If there are several of you in an office or business that gave care, it’s fine to send one card from everyone. It’s lovely when everyone individually signs the card to express his or her sorrow.
  • Did the deceased have a nice smile or usually share a kind word? That may be something you can mention you’ll always remember.

Is there anything different about being a caregiver and figuring out what to say in a sympathy card?

Well, when you’re a professional caregiver it does give you some distance from the family and friends.  You want to remain respectful and professional.

What are some phrases that can be included when writing a sympathy card?

You can find some specific phrases and ideas in this post How Do You Know What To Say In a Sympathy Card?

The suggestions can be tailored to your specific situation.

Where can you turn for more help about what to say in a sympathy card and how to help the bereaved?

Wouldn’t you love to have a practical guide you can turn to when needed?

A guide that could answer those questions about…

  • How do you write a condolence letter or note?
  • What are the right things to say and do?
  • What are the things to avoid doing and saying?

Well, I found this e-book that you can download now.

It’s packed with all this information and more.  The authors experienced the grieving process in their own lives, and share their wisdom.  While it’s written for family and friends of the bereaved, it also answers many questions caregivers have.

For more information about the book just click here now.

Or copy and paste this web address (URL) into  your browser

Check it out now so you don’t have to worry what to say when you need the right words.


To your healthy caregiving,

Dr. Ina

Ina Gilmore M.D. (ret.)
“The Knitting Dr.”
Ambassador of Elder Care,
Founder, and



The information on this website is for educational purposes only.  It does not replace information or recommendations from your own physician or other health care provider.  This site does not advocate medical or other health-related self-care, and encourages you to obtain advice from your own personal physician or other health care provider.

This web site is not intended to replace medical, financial, legal, or any other professional advice.  Please use your own good judgment and consult with your own professionals before applying any ideas found within this website.


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