Caregivers Myths: 5 “Do Not Make” Assumptions by Caregivers

As a caregiver, do you have preconceived notions of the roles and responsibilities of others? In this brief article, I will dispel some of the common myths involved in the “art” of managing care for others.

The work of a caregiver is hard. It is demanding and complex. It is stressful. Caregiving extends well beyond cooking, companionship and direct care. It is also decision making, planning, and coordination. Caregiving, Care Coordination, Care Management is providing meaning and substance to planning and collaboration. It is about ensuring commitment and consistency among a team of providers who strive to achieve that which is in the best interest of their mutual client. It is about securing commitment, consistency, and communication among those providers so that we all move in the same direction adhering to the same set of goals and principles.

Beware: common misconceptions such as the following often frustrate our intentions and the process of good care.

1. Mental Incapacity is treated much like any other illness.
We cannot expect a quick fix, a shot or a pill to “cure” mental health issues. It is not like going to a physician with an ear infection. The passion involved in caring for another often leaves us feeling frustrated and anxious. Our need for answers and results overcomes our logic.

2. Providers are not allowed to get confidential information.
There is no circumstance under which a provider should not take the time to listen to information that may be vital to an understanding of the totality of circumstances surrounding any case. Even if a provider cannot acknowledge the presence of a patient, she should still take the time to listen so that treatment may be better informed.

3. Bad Decisions are grounds for interference.
We may not like it but, people have the right to make bad choices. Our contrary belief system is not enough to warrant interference with this right or this basic dignity.

4. Planning should focus on my loved one’s disability.
There has been a major paradigm shift in the overarching theme of care. We no longer focus on issues that prevent an individual from acting. Instead, in today’s more progressive society, our focus is on empowerment, stressing that which an individual is capable of accomplishing.

5. An attorney must act in the best interest of my loved one.
It is unethical for an attorney to act in any manner OTHER than that which his client wishes or so directs. Even when an attorney disagrees he is duty bound to zealously represent his clients’ position.

Our population is aging. The number of individuals in need increases year to year. Persons in need rarely fit neatly within the client profile of any one state or local agency. Instead, most individuals find themselves receiving services from many agencies and, quite often, the services or eligibility requirement of one may preclude services from another. Now, more than ever, human service systems need non-traditional approaches in order to effectively coordinate services among disparate providers and to deliver services to individuals who live in our communities.

Your skill and understanding as a caregiver are vital to the health and maintenance of countless people struggling to maintain meaningful lives in our communities.

By Michael W Mackniak

And now I would like to invite you to shoot me an email at I have met thousands of caregivers across the country and heard their complaints and frustrations. Mention this article and I will send you free materials and more “Best Practice” tips to ensure your clients and loved ones are receiving the best care imaginable from Michael Mackniak the Caregiver Consultant and

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