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Caregiver's Self-Rating Scale

The scale is a 1-10 continuum which describes the various styles of caring.

  1. Abandonment -- To withdraw protection or support or to actively abuse your care-receiver.
  2. Neglect -- To allow life-threatening situations to persist or to display consistent coldness or anger.
  3. Detachment/aloofness -- To maintain an air of detachment or being aloof, perfunctory in your care, no genuine concern, only obligation. Concerned only with physical well-being of your care-receiver.
  4. General support -- Given freely, with a guarded degree of warmth and respect, occasional feelings of manipulation. Concerned with both emotional and physical well-being of care-receiver.
  5. Expressed empathy -- The ability to feel what your care-receiver feels. a quality relationship where feelings can be freely expressed and caringly received with non-judgmental positive regard.
  6. Sympathy -- Feeling sorry for care-receiver, giving sympathy, focusing on the losses experienced by care-receiver.
  7. Occasional over-involvement -- Care characterized by periodic attempts to do for rather than be with.
  8. Consistent over-involvement -- Care-receiver regarded as object of series of tasks which must be performed.
  9. Heroic over-involvement -- Care characterized by sometimes frantic and desperate attempts to provide for every possible need your care-receiver has; increased dependence, care-receiver not allowed independence.
  10. Fusion of personalities -- Between caregiver and care-receiver. The caregiver's needs no longer have any value or meaning; the caregiver has abandoned him/herself to needs of the care-receiver.

You can place yourself on the Scale of Caregiving to determine how you value your care-receiver as compared to yourself. The low numbers give little or no value (honor) to the needs of your care-receiver. The high numbers (8, 9, 10) give little or no value to your own needs as an individual and as a caregiver. The numbers in the middle are where you find a balance between undercare and overcare. Neither of the two extremes is healthy; they represent positions where you are not helping your care-receiver.

(Source: San Diego Mental Health Services)

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