Guest Blogger for Caregivers

Expectations. An expectant mental attitude.

Are expectations inborn or are they acquired? When a newborn baby cries, are they expecting to have their cry answered? Or, are they crying merely out of a need? Regardless of the basis of the cry, in most instances, the cry is met with food or comfort. From that point on, we could presume that expectation has become acquired. As that child grows, they are taught to expect recognition on their birthday…and on holidays when gifts are given. Awards in school become an expectation for good performance or behavior. Throughout life, targeted marketing ratchets up the ante by heightening the expectations as the child grows into an adult.

Sooner or later, a situation comes along that dashes those expectations and leaves, in its place, disappointment. A friend doesn’t call. An important date on the calendar is ignored. A special favor isn’t acknowledged. A sacrifice isn’t appreciated.

We, as caregivers, face a different type of expectation and disappointment. We care for our loved one, whether spouse, parent or other close relationship. We expect others to care, too. That expectation brings a reality to view. Not everyone cares in the same way.

Some prefer to bury their heads in the sand, choosing not to acknowledge the changes in physical and mental abilities of a loved one. Maybe it’s the pain of loss. Maybe it’s a lack of compassion. Maybe it’s self-interest.

Others prefer to seize the opportunity to nurture the loved one and oversee every need that might arise. Maybe it’s out of a sense of guilt. Or, it could be a sense of obligation. Then, there’s always the possibility of an altruistic devotion.

Somewhere along the line, those who provide the care need help either physically or emotionally. We look to others when the task (please note the word “burden” is not used here since this is a task of love rather than a burden) becomes very heavy. Daily, we see the loss and feel its toll deeply.

Yet, we can’t expect others to share our emotions because those emotions are unique to us, just as the reasons for caring are unique. When we do expect the same dedication from others, we set ourselves up for disappointment. It becomes necessary to accept that we are in no way responsible for the choices and actions, or lack thereof, of any other adult. Free choice. Freedom of choice. Regrets. Everything that comes into play now will continue into the future. Still, we have no control over anyone but ourselves.

Lynn in Florida


4 Responses

  1. Wise words, very true. Also, allow people a chance to give. Maybe going to the supermarket is all someone can do, be grateful for that. I think a lot of the time people don’t know what they can do, and so they back off and do nothing or they’re afraid to intrude. A complicated situation.

  2. YOur post reads exactly how I feel. I love my mom. I feel she deserves to have me care for her. She cared for me and provided the best life she could for me.

    My mom taught me unconditional love. My dad taught me that my family are my only true friends. Both lessons I have learned and are what I believe the key factors to why I care for my mom with LBD.

    Lewy is tough to live with as a person with the problem and the caregiver who cares for the inflicted. But, I refuse to give up. My dad taught me that the only time you fail is when you quit. He didn’t raise any quitters, especially me.

    Until my mom passes over, I will continue to do everything that I can to help her have a happy rest of her life. She deserves it.

    My mom is LOVE.

    My mom is providing me the opportunity to learn how to cook to live a healthy old age. Because of her and my passion for preparing food, I’ve learned how to eat in order to avoid the dis-eases she had in her lifetime.

    My siblings? I love each and every one of them. I get frustrated sometimes. Often I feel alone. But, deep down I know they learned the same lessons from our mom and dad. I believe that they’ll be here for me one day. I’ll never give up on my family. I hope I can be a good example and show them through my actions what’s important in life.

    My dad did all he could to teach us that FAMILY is our greatest gift and one we should always treasure.

    I treasure my family.

  3. As a caregiver I also had to adjust my expectations of how my Mother would act and react. After my Mother was in the nursing home, if she didn’t respond to my visit as I expected then I was disappointed. I was trying to force her to be her old self. I finally realized that my visit to her wasn’t about me it was about her and her well being. If she wasn’t sociable then that was fine. I was there to make sure she had everything she needed. If she was sociable then that was great I would talk with her and enjoy our visit. Things got much easier after I realized that I had to allow her to be who she had become and enjoy those times that she was her old self.

  4. Caregivers have an abundance of areas in which they can become disappointed. The day we learned our Loved one had LBD. The difficulty in coping with their changes, while expecting them to act as they always have. Disappointed in
    watching decline in our Loved one. etc, etc.And yes, that some family members don’t respond with moral support if nothing else.After expecting, and then being let down, we come to realize each has his own priorities in life of which we may know nothing.

    So, we don’t dwell on ourselves, or others, for long. But our concern is for the one in whom we are caring. We keep plugging along, and keep ourselves strong, because we love.

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