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Caregiving Alone? How to Get the Caregiving Help You Need

Caregivers Can Ask for Help

Anyone coping with a difficult health journey needs a caregiver – someone who steps up as their advocate, cook, errand-runner, communicator, valet, secret shopper and much more.

If you’re that caregiver, you know the reality check: time is limited, you can’t be everywhere at once, and there are always unforeseen emergencies large and small.

We get it, and we’re here to help you feel less overwhelmed and alone with tips on how to get caregiving help from other willing souls.

Divide, Conquer, Delegate

At CaringBridge, we think caregivers are today’s saints. You give of yourself out of love, caring and compassion, expecting nothing in return.

But as good as your intentions are, you’ll be less effective if you try to do everything yourself. The good news is that most people want to help.

So once you have a clear idea of everything that needs to be done — plus when and how — you should delegate. Here’s how:

  • Make a list of the tasks and responsibilities that you have to deal with as a caregiver.
  • Write another list of the people in your caring community (family, friends, visitors to the CaringBridge site with which you’re associated).
  • Then simply start asking for their assistance.

The CaringBridge Planner Makes it Easy to Coordinate Tasks

If you haven’t already done so, start a CaringBridge SupportPlanner, a handy tool to help you coordinate all the tasks that need to be done.

  • Meals, household chores, yard work: Yours included, if you’re too busy.
  • Transportation to appointments: Are you needed at every doctor visit?
  • Shopping and errands: Grocery, pharmacy, deliveries…it’s endless.
  • Companionship: Take turns sitting and visiting. The person you’re caring for will enjoy the mix of company.
  • Everything else: Dog-walking, plant-watering, and other everyday tasks.

Who Should You Ask?

Ask everyone in your caring community to pitch in. People are usually more than happy to help if they can, and know their efforts are needed and appreciated. Everyone will know, too, what’s going on with you and the person you care for.

How Have You Shared Caregiving? Tell Us Now

CaringBridge and our many readers are interested in your personal experiences with caregiving and delegating caregiving tasks, so please share them here.

As always, it’s easy to start a CaringBridge Site if you haven’t already. Once you do, try out the SupportPlanner too.

About the Author:

Tom McNulty is a guest blogger for CaringBridge and the author of “CLEAN LIKE A MAN – Housekeeping for Men (and the Women Who Love Them)”.

Comments

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3 Replies

  • By John Paul

    Great article Tom! I’m interested in learning how to help people receiving cancer treatment or who have family members going through it.

    What are your big fears or frustrations? What have you tried that hasn’t worked? What do you need help with?

  • By Holly Seerley

    In response to Tom’s August 2013 question about what works and does not for support….I am answering as a receiver of support organized through CaringBridge by friends and my church.

    My biggest fear was finances as the sole practitioner in a business and sole family provider. If I do not work, bills cannot be paid. So, having sooooo much support for dinners that turned into lunches (leftovers), company to long distance radiation and twice a week companions to walk with meant I got:

    More rest
    Fed healthy meals
    Time w friends during daily 2 hour drives to radiation
    And accountability and company to keep moving physically when all I wanted was to sleep.

    My priorities became my son, my work (which I thankfully love), treatment, healthy eating and exercise. Oh, and TONS of sleep.

    I could not have done it without the structure of a schedule for people to sign up with.

    I have always been shy for asking for help. The outpouring of love and care reminded me that we people love to give also. And it is a blessing on both ends. I am forever grateful for the organized support that I am in the midst of still.

    Holly

  • By Holly Seerley

    Whoops I meant I was responding to Jean Paul’s question.

    Holly