Caregiving and the Importance of Accepting Help

Caregiving and the Importance of Accepting Help

Caregiving demands a lot from those who have assumed the role for an aging loved one. Nobody is ever really prepared for what comes with the role of a family caregiver. We are not taught about the things we should expect and how to handle difficult situations. As a result, stresses can run high among family caregivers because they feel overwhelmed and overburdened. But it does not have to be this way.

In this blog we want to stress the importance of finding and accepting help, especially when it is offered. You might be pleasantly surprised just how many friends or other family members want to help out, but you may feel guilty, embarrassed or nervous to accept help. There are many other reasons why you might not accept help, like feeling overprotective, having personal issues with other family members, untrusting of strangers, or being financially insecure. But receiving help does not have to put you in a more difficult situation. Help can often come with no strings attached and completely free of cost.

The first thing we suggest is to create a list of things you need. It is helpful for you to really think about what you want help with so you can identify areas in your life that need the most immediate attention. Being aware of the things you need is a positive characteristic, since it means you are thinking about your own mental and emotional needs.

Next, think about those who can help, like close friends, family members, or even professional organizations where you can hire a professionally trained caregiver.

Consider Seeking Out These Forms of Help

(1) Just ask: Do not feel guilty reaching out to someone and asking. Or if you’ve already received an offer for help before but turned it down, then reach out to the person who offered. The important thing to remember is that there is no shame in asking.

(2) Accept it: On the flip side, if someone offers it, then accept it. The person offering help is most likely a friend or family member and they are doing it to help ease your burden. Accept people’s kindness and remember that it can make a big difference in your life, as well.

(3) Advice can be helpful: Help doesn’t always mean inviting someone into your or your loved one’s home and taking over certain duties. Help can come in the form of advice from a counselor, religious leader, or someone who has had similar experiences. Listen to the wisdom of others and learn from people who may have more experience with certain situations. Trying to figure out everything on your own can over-exhaust you.

(4) Rely on a Professional: There are people out there who have been trained specifically as caregivers. They know how to handle even the most difficult situations. If possible, consider hiring a professionally trained caregiver to assist you a few times a week. This can allow you to have valuable time to yourself, which is important for mental and emotional wellbeing.