Saturday, October 16, 2010

Asking for help


Quest Magazine had another good article that I wanted to share with you in case you missed it.  As my regular readers know, I am an advocate of caregivers.  They do an amazing job often with little support and hardly a chance to relax and just be themselves.  Especially during stressful times, any assistance provided that can help remove the 180# gorilla from your caregiver’s back might will be doubly appreciated.

Caregiver 5  caregiver4

The article, “A Dozen Ways to Ask for Help,” … “that will lighten the load of your caregivers and yourself” is written by Barbara and Jim Twardowski (R.N.).  It provides several ways to establish a support system to help relieve the caregiver of the feeling that they are on duty “24-7.”  Throughout the article it mentions a book written by M. Nora Klaver, “Mayday! Asking for Help in Times of Need.”

A key step the article mentions is “learning how to ask for help.”  In Ms. Klaver’s book she mentions that most handicapped people are uncomfortable or afraid to ask for help until they are desperate.  The reason is that ‘we’ value our independence and no one has ever taught us the right way to ask for help.  Even worse, when we become desperate and finally do ask for help, we often are unclear as to our need or ask the wrong person.

The article references a seven-step process.  Step one is “to name the need.”  Too often we are not specific.  This might happen because we are afraid of being turned down or we are not certain exactly what we need help doing.  The author recommends that we should begin by making a list of the areas where we need help (e.g., transportation, house cleaning, running errands, yard work, etc.).  Then we should prioritize the list and determine where we can hire services for these tasks and what work could be completed by a volunteer.

Another consideration is what work/chores/tasks could be outsourced?  In other words, what would make life easier for the primary caregiver (especially if he/she works).

The last section of the article provides “12 ways to ask for help.”  I will not try to summarize these points in today’s article, but believe they should all be considered for their potential value. 
  1. Brainstorm solutions with friends and family
  2. Build a support network
  3. Build a support network that also assists your primary caregiver
  4. Tap into service organizations (Boy and Girl Scouts, etc.)
  5. Use a care coordination service
  6. Keep a list of how others have and can assist you
  7. Create short jobs (15-minute favors)
  8. Copy what other folks are doing
  9. Dial 211 to find community services (
  10. Review MDA’s list of available services by state (
  11. Think outside the box (including contacting community outreach programs)
  12. Be grateful for the help you receive – and express your gratitude (very important)

I know that I am one that still struggles with hanging our the white flag.  I am getting better at realizing and asking, but I could do much better in seeking other resources to help minimize the burden on my wife and family.

I would be interested in some of your success stories and ‘lessons learned’ in finding others to help.  Please take a moment and share your experiences by commenting below or by sending me an email.

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Please feel free to comment. By taking a moment to share your thoughts you add much to these articles. The articles then become more than just something I said or believe. In addition, by adding a comment, you might just be helping the next reader by sharing your opinion, experience, or a helpful tip. You can comment below or by sending me an email. I look forward to hearing from you.