July 21st, 2024

Caregiving Corner: One surefire way to get things done

By Medicine Hat News on July 15, 2017.

“Let me know if you need anything.”

These are almost curse words to a family caregiver.

Still, you smile and say “OK. I will.”

You have no intention of calling these well meaning family, friends and co-workers who want to lend you a hand and make your life easier. There is enough on your plate without trying to think about what you need, or organize someone to help you. Yet, their offer is genuine and you deserve to have the help.

What happens when you don’t accept their offer, is that they start to believe you really do have everything under control, and don’t need help. Then they quit asking. And it starts to feel like no one cares enough to help. This can happen subtly and over time, so slowly you don’t even notice. Until you feel alone — all alone.

When I was caring for Callum it took me a couple of months to come up with accepting the help I needed without feeling like I was being a burden to anyone, or asking for too much help. When clients of mine have used this one strategy it has lifted the burden for them in many ways.

The first thing to do is to start a list of the tasks, household jobs and errands that need to get done. Keep a running list, adding to it when new things come up and crossing off the things that are completed.

When someone says “let me know if you need anything,” pull out your list, give it to them, or read it if you are on the phone, and say “Which of these things would you be able to do?”

Most of the time they will find something they are willing to do. You don’t have to risk being rejected by asking for one specific thing, and the other person can choose something that they can do — and feel good about doing.

Remember a time when you helped someone, and how great that felt. You are giving someone a gift of that feeling when you accept his or her help

It’s a win-win all around.

Lorna Scott is a Caregiver Strategist with the Caregiver Coalition of Southeast Albert, The Caregiver’s Lighthouse and author of the best selling book Walking the Journey Together É Alone. Contact her at Lorna@ TheCaregiversLighthouse.com or 403-548-8437)

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