5 Effective Ways Caregivers Ask for Help

How Caregivers Ask For Help Memory Cafe Directory

 Memory Cafe Directory posts and/or links to retailers can be advertising, sponsored, or affiliate links. We may earn a small commission from them. Thank you.

Let’s look at ways caregivers ask for help. In Caregiving by the Letters and Stress Reduction with a Tropical Twist, we stated what caregivers know as being painfully obvious:

Caregiving is stressful.

We helped identify the various caregivers’ roles, some mind-boggling stats about caregiving demographics, and provided some resources on how you can get a handle on the very real stress with which you might live each and every day.

We also touched very briefly on asking for help. This should be a key element in your stress reduction strategy, and today, we’ll dig deeper into how you can reach out successfully.

Art and Science

Asking for help with your caregiving responsibilities is as much art as it is science. One needs to be creative in identifying the tasks with which other can lend a hand. At the same time, being very calculated in how you ask the questions is a key element of a successful “ask.”

Available on Amazon

In “Put Your Mask on First!” Dr. Gary Bradt and Scott Silknitter use what we’ve all heard so many times on airplanes as the morale: you must take care of you first.

Regarding asking for help, the entire Chapter 6 “How to Ask for Help” is devoted to helping you get the help you need (and deserve!)

This is my favorite quote, pointing to the whole “art and science” thing, emphasizing there is not one right way to do something:

“Let’s make this as clear as we can: there is no right way to be a caregiver! But there is YOUR WAY to be a caregiver!”

Help People Help You by Helping Them

Please remember: people generally want to help others.

Helping others provides a fulfilling emotion in all of us, and it is one that often helps ourselves as much as it benefits those we are assisting.

The problem is that while most people want to help the caregivers in their lives, they often don’t know how. That may seem simple, but getting to an answer takes a little effort.

Be Specific

When you reach out to someone to ask for assistance, give them a good idea of what’s involved. Instead of:

“Can you come over to help me with Mom?”

You might ask by saying:

“I could use your help Tuesday. Would you be able to come over and sit with Mom from 11:00 until about 3:00 while I have lunch with a friend and run some errands? I’ll have her lunch all ready for you – you’ll just need to put it together, eat with her, and chat with her for a few hours.”

See the difference? Knowing the task, time, expectations makes it a much easier sell!

Right Person for the Job

It is all too common of a story we hear, about a caregiver beating their heads against the wall trying to get a family member to pitch in. After all, you rightfully believe that many hands make any job easier.

The challenge?

Getting the right hands doing the right things. Your reluctant family member may not be cut out for bathing or toileting duty. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t be helpful. Let’s take a look at ways you can get help – even from the most stubborn source.

Burden is Burden: Any Reduction Helps Caregivers

Rather than focus on “caregiving” support, you may want to look at other ways you can benefit from some assistance. Your caregiving responsibilities are multi-faceted, but only some are actual hands on activities. Here’s 5 ways you can get help. Let us know about other tasks with which you’ve gotten assistance in the comments below.

1Grocery Shopping

Think about the several hours a week it takes to get to prep for the shopping run, get to the store, shop, get home, and put groceries away. You may have your loved one in tow if they can’t be left alone, or coordinate with someone to watch them while you’re gone.

Wouldn’t it be simpler if that bodily-fluid-squeamish relative made the grocery run for you? They don’t have to run bath water, and you take a burden off your shoulders.

And this isn’t charity! You’ll pay for the groceries. It’s just that if they are going to the store “anyway” and can pick you up a few things, you save a huge amount of time!

2Getting the Car Serviced

Talk about an adventure! If your loved on can’t be alone and if they are… ahem… a challenge when waiting in a customer waiting area, you may have an opportunity. Instead of killing several hours just to get that oil changed, you could ask that car buff in your life to help out.

OK. This is only a few times per year. But these thing are additive. The more you can delegate the right things to the right people, the more they add up to time saved for you!

3Medication Refills

The same logic applies here as in the grocery shopping example. Rather than schedule and coordinate a time for you to get to the pharmacy, a friend or relative could easily take care of that for you. They’re going that way anyway… why not just pick them up for you?

4Household Finances

This one may be a bit tricky, but not impossible. Given the right set of circumstances, that “standoffish” relative might be the right person to sort the mail, manage your loved one’s checkbook, and keep the bills paid and the lights on. Not once do they have to change dirty clothes, but you’ve eliminated a big chore, several times per month.

Give it some thought. In the right situation, this (or some variation of an “administrative” support assistant) could be an enormous burden lifted.

5Yard Work

Running around behind the mower could be a much easier sell than trying to get help with administering medications. It’s understood, this effort may actually be cathartic for you, but in the end, it does take a considerable amount of time. Hey, why not teach responsibility to that adolescent nephew?

You get the idea.

These are just a few examples. The hope is that for every example shown above, it sparks a creative thought on an option that fits your specific caregiving situation. Regardless of the scenario that works for you, the logic is sound: be specific on what you identify as ways to help, and then pose the question… strategically.

But you have to ask. And you must ask specifically.

ask for caregiving support memory cafe directoryBy building a base of support in many areas of your caregiving experience, you can still reduce the stress and involve more people in the care you provide. Remember the whole “more hands” thing?

Tell us in the comments below, how you’ve engaged others in providing care. Let’s make this a repository of creative ways you’ve asked for help. The more ideas that can be shared, the more who can benefit.

Thank you!

Tell your friends about Memory Cafe Directory!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Laura Lopez Feb 18, 2020, 7:13 pm

    Dementia is more difficult. The random person doesn’t know all the answers to the 20 questions my mother will have about her life—and that wil become a problem quickly. I tried hiring someone to take her grocery shopping. The person lasted 2 shopping trips—yes she quit, and she does this type of work as a part-time gig after her full-time job. My mother tortured the poor woman. My mother has “4-year old” temper tantrums, yes, eye rolling, crying, yelling, pounding a table, and throwing small objects like a pen or a phone if she doesn’t get her way or Doesn’t understand something. She agitates easily. I have to manage almost every aspect of her life except hygiene. I cant think of one person who would take the time out of their lives to take my mom shopping, and even if they did, that would be 1 time, big deal. I cant keep asking the same person! Not only that, but my mom is on a budget and will spend $130 every week on food (she weights 106). I weigh 160 and spend 1/2 that weekly. She is supposed to be spending 70-80 per week on food. She throws things in her cart she doesnt need, like more tape, more pens, more body lotion. Theres enough body lotion in my moms house to last 5 years! I help her with sales and buying in bulk then breaking things down for single servings like chicken. She still cooks in an automatic shutoff air fryer and a crockpot. I have a boyfriend. He WON’T help. He’s made that clear. My older siblings left the state at the same time. Im screwed.

    • Memory Cafe Directory Feb 19, 2020, 6:44 pm

      So sorry to hear about your mother and all the challenges you two are facing. Wishing you all the best for the future.