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Caregiver Expectations

Setting realistic expectations is a key to developing an effective care strategy.

A common source of stress for caregivers is that they assume expectations for themselves that are unrealistic. Likewise family members may have expectations of themselves or of their caregivers that are inappropriate or unreasonable. When these expectations and the actual care conflict, the caregiver is likely to feel inadequate, guilty, frustrated and the care recipient may feel abandoned or patronized. Setting realistic expectations is a key to developing an effective care strategy.

Common Expectations

Following are a few initial beliefs expressed by family members that often mislead them into inappropriate action:

    • "My parents took care of me when I was a child, it is my obligation to do at least as much for them now"
    • "If I do everything right things will work out perfectly."
    • "Once I get the immediate care problem resolved, we can put it behind us and move on with our lives."
    • "As a caregiver I need to perform at least as well as other caregivers I know."
    • "My parents will tell me if they need anything."
    • "My parents don't want me to interfere with their lives unless they ask."

Following are some expectations that parents may have of their children regarding care:

    • To turn to their children no matter what when the time comes that they need assistance
    • That their children will accept their decisions that affect their independence, regardless of the circumstances
    • Their chldren will do for them as other people's children have done.
    • Their children will provide for all their social needs
    • That they should not burden their children with their problems and so their children should not be involved in their care

Realistic Expectations

In retrospect, family caregivers have a few suggestions to help establish an initial perspective that is more realistic.

    • The process of planning an providing care will take more time than you ever imagined.
    • Your needs must be balanced with those for whom you are caring
    • You need help — ask for it. ( Click here for a few ideas on what you might need to ask and where to ask for it.)
    • Try your best, but it won't always work. Accept this as good enough.
    • A sense of inadequacy comes with the territory. It helps if you do not strive to be perfect.
    • Be prepared to modify your expectations as matters progress.
    • What works for you may not be what works for your family member. And vice versa.
    • Each family member in the caregiving network will see the situation differently. There is no one "right" way to proceed.

 

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Susan Walker
HomeWell Senior Care
1401 South Taft Avenue, Suite 207
Loveland, CO 80537
970-461-4799

Expertise:
Home Care Services : Non-Medical

Email Susan Walker