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 The Beck-and-Call-Giver

I don’t know what they put in the water in Boise, Idaho.  When I got off the plane, the cab driver sounded like he worked for the chamber of commerce. I never heard a single discouraging word about the city from the citizens I met during the 48 hours I was in town. It just makes me wonder. 

I was in Boise to keynote a caregiving conference hosted by Friends in Action, a small but energetic organization headed by Stephanie Bender-Kitz, Ph.D.  As we always find on the Fearless Caregiver tour each year, being in a large room with your fellow caregivers can be an eye-opening experience—especially when you thought you were the only one going through caregiving in your community.

Once again, I learned as much from the attendees as I did from the expert panel and I truly believe that the panelists will confirm my contention.  As the “Question Tsunami” (more questions than time to answer them all) approached during the morning Q and A session, a caregiver who had been patiently waiting to talk finally got her chance.  She said, “I don’t have a question about being a caregiver for my dad; I have a question about being a beck-and-call-giver for my dad.”

That got a lot of laughs, but it did ring a bell with some of the caregivers.  It seems as if she had a situation where her dad had simply given up and now expects people to be at his beck and call, doing things for him that he could do for himself but had simply decided not to.  She has developed a strategy that allows him to do more things, such as making his own sandwiches by simply not being available at lunch or not putting his clothes away so he would have to do it himself. 

By carefully allowing him to take on responsibilities appropriate to his abilities, she has actually given herself some more freedom and has made him feel a tad bit more independent as well. 

I told her we would also come up with some solutions about her situation.  After all, Boise can’t have all the fun. Can it?

My Advice for Beating Beck and Call Giving


Gary Barg

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