Caregiving: Offering Support Without Expectation


By Pamela D Wilson MS, BS/BA, CSA, NCG

No strings attached. How many times do we honestly offer support or assistance to another individual and expect nothing in return?

The “no strings attached approach” is extremely helpful in offering support to a parent, loved one, or friend who truly would benefit from assistance but who is unlikely to ask for help. There are also times when an individual isn’t aware of helpful information or mechanisms that exist to provide support because of a simple lack of knowledge or exposure to outside information or technology.

I personally stumble across helpful information while completing totally non-related projects and then am amazed that I was not previously aware that this information, this tool, this program, or this gadget existed. There are also times when I want to avoid too much technology; that is until I really need the technology for a specific purpose, like GPS on my cellphone for finding my way to an unknown location.

How can caregivers embrace the idea of providing support and expecting nothing in return?

If you are already a caregiver involved in providing care on a day to day basis, this information is also for you as many full time caregivers cross the boundary of feeling entitled or owed for providing care for a loved one. If this is your situation read articles on this website about achieving balance or maintaining boundaries as you have already cross the line of offering support without expecting a return.

Prior to accepting the role of a full-time caregiver, think of a time when you did something totally unexpected for another person? How many embrace the idea of doing something nice for someone as a daily effort? Like paying for a meal for the person behind you in the line at the drive through restaurant or giving an unexpected compliment?

Giving without expectation is a liberating feeling, similar to good feelings that arise from the act of volunteering for which you are not financially paid. The giving I am referring to is giving in advance of a significant need for care— with the goal of the giving to prevent or delay a significant need for care.

Imagine the comfort experienced by your parent, loved one, or friend knowing that they will not “owe” you for assistance provided. Many times this support arrives in the way of a patient explanation or patience in providing support for a person who may be a slow learner or slow in physical ability.

Many parents and older adults hesitate to ask for assistance because they feel they will be judged or criticized for a lack of skill or knowledge. Parents refuse to ask help from children because of a previous experienced where impatience may have been expressed. I have personally been involved in many situations where I know parents would benefit from just a little help but are hesitant to ask family.

If you have parents or loved ones who are still relatively independent, offer a little help here and there to allow them to remain independent. A little help and advocacy goes a long way toward delaying a significant need for time consuming assistance when health and well-being fails.

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©2014 Pamela D. Wilson, All Rights Reserved.

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