Managing our Expectations

Serene woman looking out of a window

Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.—PSALM 71:9 (NIV)

When my grandfather moved in with us, I was full of ideas about what it was going to be like. We would take him to the senior center for lunch and he would make friends. He would sit in the yard in the sunshine with me and watch his great-grandchildren play and they would bring him so much joy. I would feed him wonderful meals with the foods he loved and then we’d all go out for ice cream.

Instead, Granddaddy Bill refused to even go outside, much less to the senior center, and he didn’t like my cooking!

I was disappointed, but as I acclimated to caregiving for him, it became clear that independence and companionship were the two things he valued most. His body ached. His mobility was limited. Getting out of the house left him exhausted for days. I needed to adjust my expectations to fit his wishes, not my own.

He was simply thrilled to just have somebody to talk to and watch television with. Being a good caregiver meant dropping my own judgments about what it should be, and focusing instead on his needs. Once I understood what was really important to him, he was able to spend his last years living the life he wanted, in the way he wanted.

Today's Prayer:

Dear God, let us see past our own expectations and honor our loved ones as they would wish.

Adapted from Strength & Grace: Daily Devotions for Caregivers, a new publication from Guideposts