FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN
/ 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