Asking For Help – Balancing Life When Caregiving for a Loved One with Alzhiemer’s
- March 29, 2015
With so much on your plate, the art of asking for help is critical to both maintaining contact with your support group and offering friends and family a way to be constructively involved when they often do not know how to be there for you.
“When someone offers to help take them up on it. Sometimes you are so overwhelmed you are not even sure what to ask for. So keep a list on your refrigerator of things people can do to help you, such as mowing the grass, going to the grocery store, providing respite time, cleaning your house, or doing your laundry. Friends and family want to help, so let them. It makes them feel useful and you won’t feel so overwhelmed or isolated.”
(from Sandra Stimson, Director of NCCDP)
Be realistic. Alzheimer’s caregiving is demanding. There’s only so much you can do on your own. Remember that asking for help doesn’t make you inadequate or selfish.
Pay attention to timing. A friend who is tired or stressed out might not be able to help. Consider asking someone else or waiting for a better time.
Test the waters. Request help. Avoid watering down your request by saying things like, “It’s only a thought.”
Suggest specific tasks. Keep in mind a list of ways you need help, so you’ll be ready with suggestions if someone offers. Perhaps a neighbor could do some yardwork or pick up your groceries. A relative could sort bills or fill out insurance papers. A friend might take your loved one for a daily walk.
Consider abilities and interests. If a loved one enjoys cooking, ask him or her to help with meal preparation. A neighbor who likes to drive might be able to provide transportation to doctor appointments. A friend who enjoys books might read aloud to your loved one.
(from the Mayo Clinic’s team on reaching out for support to preventing caregiver burnout.)
“A small gesture goes a long, long way. The gifts that matter most are the ones that help me save time and energy and are a treat that I can enjoy at home without arranging care. I don’t always have time to read a book or watch a movie, or take advantage of invites to restaurant meals or spa treatments, but these are things that I can and will enjoy. Dropping off a pre-made dinner, a CD with my favorite songs, a favorite dessert or snack, a photo album you made of pictures of us over the years, a soft cuddly blanket, fresh flowers or a selection of teas and coffees would be so welcome.”
(from Mara Botonis, Contributor at AlzLive.com)