Would you agree that thanking people who do things for you is a good practice, and one that result in all parties involved feeling good? I’d hazard a guess that most people would agree. This is where things can become frustrating when care recipients are in the state of denial. Let me provide you with an example here. At least a couple of times each week my partner and I have the good fortune to hear our care recipient explaining to her morning care provider how nice it is to have us living in the house, and then continuing on to exaggerate about all the things she still is able to do for herself. In some of the examples she gives to illustrate that she can do almost everything for herself there is a grain of truth, with others being complete fabrications. One example I can think of right now is that she does all the gardening herself, when indeed she now is at the point where she does almost none of the gardening but finds solace in sitting near the garden and watching it grow. Mostly it is my partner who plants and tends to the garden. He does so to ensure his mother has the garden to visit, and because the fruits (and veggies) of his labours provide us all with some very good and organic eating. But, when his mother’s exaggerating and denial hurts is when she genuinely tells her care providers and her visitors that her son and I really don’t do anything for her, but rather are living here only to be present if something should go wrong here.
Okay, so now I can hear your thinking that I should get over it, especially since everyone who hears her declarations knows that her assertions are not 100% reliable. Most of the time I can (and do) simply brush off these statements of bravado from our care recipient. In other cases, however, and especially when we’ve been very busy doing all sorts of things for her rather than getting out and having fun with our friends or other family members, these untruths are very hard to swallow. At these times, assuming they happen to you, too, I would suggest that you share your frustrations with your fellow caregiver, family members, and close friends, while you let them roll off your back. After all, we don’t take on these duties for the glory … but, it sure can feel good to have your efforts acknowledged.
Yours in caregiving,