When it comes to daily living, your schedule is often full of your own tasks and needs, coupled with those of your loved ones. The lines can often get blurred, and tasks can get overwhelming. I remember days of being afraid, perhaps ashamed to ask for help because I felt it would make me look incompetent. After all, I was a grown woman with a business background in organizing and managing, surely I could tend to all of the tasks at hand.
If you ever hear that tape playing, stop. Walk away. Take a deep breath and have a gentle conversation with yourself that you are not a superhero, and no one expects you to be. Reverse the role; put yourself in the position of a loved one far away that can’t be there to help in person, but perhaps can do things from afar.
I speak to all of this from a place of knowing. I’ve not only been the caregiver but thankful to have a sister on the east coast that was ready to jump in with assistance as often as she was able to. But here’s the trick, you’ve also got to be willing to ASK for help. Mind-reading is not something most of us can do, so never assume someone else should know that you need help.
Many of you don’t have the support network to be able to reach out to for help. When that’s the case it’s important to remember that friends may be willing to jump in to run to the grocery store, or perhaps delivery services can be used. In our Facebook support group online or at our local walks, perhaps someone close to you would be willing to help.
Online, the Family Caregiver Alliance can be an excellent support resource center from counseling services to information and links to services that may be able to offer assistance.
Here are some simple tips that may support you as well:
Make a list of things you could use help with (regardless of how ‘small’ you may think they are):
Meal planning ideas
Ideas on communicating with loved ones or perhaps things they might be able to do that gives them joy
Making phone calls for financial planning, banking, insurance needs
Then set up a weekly meeting with loved ones, or a phone call/email 1x a week that gives everyone involved a chance to catch up on what is happening and allowing you to ask for help.
It’s also beneficial to journal things that happen. From things your loved one is experiencing to your own thoughts. It removes the “Was it last week that Mom was talking about stomach issues….?”.
Please remember to fill up your own reserve, first. Whatever you can do to help give support to yourself will ultimately help your loved one, too.