Peters & Love Pop Quiz: Unrealistic Expectations

How good are you at spotting someone else’s unrealistic expectations?

Question 1:
Susan had macular degeneration and was considered legally blind. Despite her visual limitations, she was very independent. She wanted a large, sunny apartment located close to an elevator. After working with her for over 9 months, Jill finally had the perfect place for her: an east-facing 2-bedroom apartment with a unique floor plan and two patios. It was located a very short distance from both of our elevators. Her children talked her out of it. Why?

a. They thought she needed Assisted Living.
b. They didn’t like the view.
c. They thought it cost too much.
d. All of the above.

Answer: Really, only “c” could be considered a reasonable objection, since she didn’t need Assisted Living and couldn’t actually see the view, but “b” is the correct answer.

Question 2:
James was tall, tan, and dashing. He came in one day with his beautiful (much younger) girlfriend on his arm. Leslie showed them the largest available apartment in Independent Living, but he just wasn’t ready to make a move. A couple of years later, James called and asked Leslie to meet with him in his home. Instead of a girlfriend, he had a male caregiver on his arm. No longer able to walk, James was in a wheelchair. Why did he want to meet with her?

a. To see if Leslie was still single.
b. To find out whether or not the Independent Living apartment he had seen two years earlier was still available.
c. He wanted Leslie to take his name off of the waiting list because he was moving to Hawaii.
d. None of the above.

Answer: In spite of the fact that he was incapable of living independently, the correct answer is “b”.

Question 3:
Louise, a divorcee, had enjoyed the good life and loved to ski, play tennis, and entertain her friends. She lived rent-free for many years in her daughter’s spacious and elegant second home. When the house went on the market, Louise had to find an alternate living situation Her only source of income was her portion of her ex-husband’s Social Security check. With financial support from her children, she could afford to live in a studio apartment at the community. What did she do?

a. She took them up of their offer and moved into a studio.
b. She insisted that she couldn’t live in anything smaller than a 2-bedroom apartment, and stormed out.
c. She moved in with her son and his family.
d. She moved into a low-income housing apartment that she could afford on her own.

Answer: Louise couldn’t bear the degree of downsizing that her financial constraints dictated. The answer is “b”. Her children were not amused.

Score Yourself
0 Correct – Uh-oh. Your eyes must be closed!
1 Correct –The lenses in your glasses are still a bit too rosy.
2 Correct – You must know someone with unrealistic expectations.
3 Correct – You’ve been through this before!

These are all true stories of people we met while working at a continuing care retirement community. We unfortunately have no idea what became of Susan, James, or Louise. However, their stories are good examples of how unrealistic expectations and denial can prevent us from making wise decisions.

As we consider the needs of our parents – and ourselves – it’s important to think realistically about how best to meet them. If it’s too difficult to set emotions aside, get a neutral third party involved. A strong, compassion-filled dose of reality is in everyone’s best interest. (That’s our specialty.)

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