When caregiving tasks feel illegitimate.
I am surprised by how often a concept from the business world applies to caregiving. I don’t know why it surprises me. Caregiving IS the business of running a small business; project management, budgeting, delegation, time management, resolution conflict, etc. The list goes on and on.
Denise Brown of the Caregiving Years Training Academy introduced me to the term “illegitimate tasks” in a recent caregiving training class. Like psychological safety, anticipatory anxiety and even emotional intelligence, the idea and research on illegitimate tasks comes out of the business world. All of these concepts speak to our experiences as caregivers.
What exactly are illegitimate tasks?
It is when an employee is directed to undertake a task that is beyond what they can reasonably be expected to do in their role. Illegitimate tasks are typically time or money saving tactics.
As the person performing the task, our perception is that it is unnecessary or unreasonable. Because these tasks ask us to do more without being paid, they are also perceived as unfair. It happens all the time. A teacher is asked to clean a classroom. A nurse is repeatedly asked to open a patient’s window. A family caregiver is expected to change a colostomy bag or clean and dress a wound after a hospital stay without enough training or support.
What the occupational stress research also shows is that illegitimate tasks result in feelings of resentment, burnout and strain. Illegitimate tasks also negatively affect our self-esteem, well-being and sleep.
What I could not find anywhere in the research were ways to fix the problem of illegitimate tasks. Since awareness is the first step to fixing a problem, I’d like to know what caregiving tasks you see as illegitimate in your caregiving experience. What do you think can help to legitimize these tasks?
I have a couple of suggestions. Join me and others from the Caregiving Years Training Academy in advocating for the empowerment of family caregivers.
- Caregiving is a Workforce Crisis: Provide Compensation
- Caregiving is a Mental Health Crisis: Provide Counseling
- Caregiving is a Humanitarian Crisis: Give a Break
Use this link to sign on to support for these recommendations which give guidance to states on how to spend additional Medicaid funding they can receive through the American Rescue Plan Act: https://www.careyearsacademy.com/funding/
|Read next week’s blog. We need to have family caregivers formally recognized as “Essential Caregivers.”|
Disclaimer: The material in this blog is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace, nor does it replace, consulting with a physician, lawyer, accountant, financial planner or other qualified professional.
Deb is available as a caregiver consultant. She will answer the question: “Where do I start?” and find the resources to alleviate your stress. If you would like to invest a half hour to learn how she can help you, please contact her at: Free 30 minute consulting call
Deb is the author of “Your Caregiver Relationship Contract.” This book explains how to have an intentional conversation and the how unspoken expectations can cause problems. Click here to learn more about Your Caregiver Relationship Contract.