For Jessica, “good enough” had never been part of her vocabulary. She excelled in her career, prided herself on a meticulously kept home, and never considered skipping her children’s sports practices. When her mother, Eleanor, was diagnosed with Lewy Body dementia Jessica was determined to provide the absolute best care.

Initially, it felt like an extension of her existing talents. She researched extensively, scheduled appointments with top specialists, and rearranged her mother’s home to optimize safety. However, as Eleanor’s condition progressed, the battle for perfection became exhausting. She berated herself when she couldn’t always get her mother to eat properly, or when she snapped after Eleanor asked the same question for the tenth time. Jessica began to micromanage the home health aides, insisting that tasks be done her way.

This need for control backfired. The aides felt constantly criticized, Eleanor began to resist care, and Jessica’s relationship with her mother deteriorated. Frustration and a crushing sense of failure consumed her. It seemed like no matter how hard she tried, she could never live up to her own impossible standards, leading to exhaustion and a creeping despair.

Seeing Jessica’s unraveling, her sister suggested reaching out to our team. At first, Jessica saw this as admitting defeat. However, our care manager offered a compassionate perspective. Together, they reframed the goal: from perfect care to good, consistent care. She reminded Jessica that her mother’s well-being depended on more than the perfectly balanced meal or a spotless home – it was about laughter, warmth, and feeling loved.

The care manager helped Jessica delegate tasks she’d become overly attached to, allowing her to focus on spending quality time with her mother. She also provided strategies to manage Jessica’s frustration in response to Eleanor’s decline, emphasizing patience and self-compassion.

Letting go of the relentless pursuit of perfection hasn’t been easy. There are still days when Jessica battles her inner critic. But now, armed with tools and the support of her care manager, she’s beginning to understand that “good enough” is more than enough. There’s a newfound joy in sharing old songs with her mother, even if they aren’t perfectly in tune. There’s comfort in the knowledge that Eleanor is receiving consistent care, even if it sometimes comes from someone other than Jessica.

If you find yourself struggling with a perfectionist mindset while caregiving, an Aging Life Care Manager®, also called a geriatric care manager, can help. We will guide you towards realistic goals, offering tools to manage the emotions that are all part of the process. Remember, sometimes the most meaningful care focuses on love and presence, not perfect execution.