Defining success in caregiving

Something for y’all to think about:

Recently I heard a discussion on the radio about how we define success in various endeavors. That got me thinking (dangerous, I know, but sometimes I’m quite the risk-taker) about how one might define success as a caregiver. If you’re caring for or supporting a friend or loved one, how do you define “success”? How can you know if you’re doing a good job? Particularly if you’re caring for someone who may be near the end of their days, when the end comes, does it even make sense to wonder if you “succeeded”?

Another program I heard on NPR talked about when we tip, and when we don’t. A criteria suggested is that we should tip when the customer is the best one to evaluate if the job was done satisfactorily. For example, while a restaurant manager might have some idea if food is being delivered to tables in a timely manner and the money is being collected, only the customer can say if they received the right degree of attention. Some diners might just want their food and to be left alone, maybe to ponder weighty matters (like how to define success…) or discuss Important Things with a companion. To the boss, it might seem that that customer is being neglected, but in reality, the server is doing a Good Job. So the customer leaves a tip to indicate their degree of satisfaction.

While it’d be ludicrous to expect tips from those we’re caring for, perhaps that’s the perspective to take. If the cared-for is happy, maybe that’s all that matters. “The customer is always right”.

Whatchy’all think?

2 thoughts on “Defining success in caregiving

  1. Kelly

    I definitely agree! There is no formula to good caregiving – I think you just have to find your path through it. In fact, I think this is true with any endeavor where you are working with individual human beings. Not to get on my soap box, but that’s why these business-model, formulaic approaches to education reform are doomed to failure. You cannot take the human element out of such a human endeavor and expect it to work. You are doing an amazing job as a caregiver, and your tip would be immeasurable! Thank you for all you do!

    Reply
    1. Bluejay Post author

      > that’s why these business-model, formulaic approaches to education reform are
      > doomed to failure. You cannot take the human element out of such a human endeavor
      > and expect it to work.

      That matches up with my experiences as an instructor. Everyone is different, and can require a different approach to get the message across. My classic example is a student I was teaching crosswind landings to. We had done everything the book says to do: discussed the maneuver, talked about wind drift, tilted lift vector, diagrammed it, blackboard, landed the little model airplane on the table numerous times, I demonstrated it, talked the student through it, but while he could explain it all back, he just didn’t make it happen in the airplane.. It wasn’t until I just said “land one wheel at a time” that everything clicked into place and he had it. In the same way, I wouldn’t explain a fine point about UNIX shell quoting to a soft-spoken database administrator the same way I’d explain it to a brash application programmer (I know one of each, and each are very competent and good people, just different). Everyone is different, and responds to different instructional technique.

      Hmmmm…. that’s an interesting idea to keep in mind when thinking about religions.

      Thanks for your insight!

      Reply

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