Asking for

    and getting help

  • Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness -- it shows that you understand the challenges you’re facing and are taking action to meet them.
  • Don’t wait for a crisis to develop before asking for help. Start building your team by asking for help with small, specific tasks.
  • Emotional support is just as valuable as practical help. Take advantage of support groups and other community resources.

Even when they’re up to their necks in responsibilities, caregivers often decline help when it’s offered. Pride, independence, and a sense that they’re the only ones who can “do the job right” keep many caregivers isolated and overwhelmed.

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Your loved one may also resist the idea of another person’s help, but having some assistance can serve as a healthy reminder -- to your loved one and yourself -- that you provide care as a choice, not as an obligation. Learning to rely on others (just as they rely on you) can ease your load and help you keep your balance.

Start by listing all the things that must be done during the course of a typical week, as well as potential helpers. Next, identify which tasks should be shared, which can be safely done only by you, and which, if any, you might consider paying others to do. Keep in mind that the most beneficial type of help is an easily repeatable task (such as a ride on Tuesdays or a meal every Friday).

Take one of the simpler tasks, match it to a potential helper, and ask. Don’t get discouraged if you get rejected at first. Keep in mind that the goal isn’t to get a personal favor, but to establish a better, healthier situation for your loved one and yourself.

Coordinating friends and family members can take some effort, but you’ll quickly learn whom you can rely on. Coordination tools such as AGIS Family CareGroups can make it easy to delegate and track tasks.

Emotional support is just as important as practical help. A local support groups can let you draw upon the experience and sympathy of other family caregivers, who might also provide practical advice about specific problems.

Many religious organizations provide volunteer help. A wide range of community resources can also help. If professional care is an option, look into the local services available. If you have a job in addition to caregiving, learn about employer programs that can help working caregivers.

Content shown was developed in collaboration between AGIS and National Family Caregivers Association.

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