family providing help for caregiver who takes care of senior manThe stress of caring can be costly. Did you know caregivers are at a higher risk of dying, even before the ones they are caring for? Many times, the primary caregiver believes it is their responsibility to do everything. This can lead to a lot of stress, resentment, and burnout. But there is a solution. Ask for help!

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Help For Caregivers' Article:

What Do Caregivers Need?
How Can Caregivers Ask For Help?
Why Help For Caregivers Is Important?


What Do Caregivers Need?

What every caregiver needs is a “village” of caring people to help them with caregiving duties. You just can’t do everything and come out of it unscathed. Nearly all of us have people in our lives that we could count on. They just can’t read our minds. We have to reach out and ask our family members or friends for help and support. Keep in mind though that it’s really imperative to be specific with your requests.

First, I suggest getting out a blank piece of paper and start writing down the names of family members who live close enough to help. Then, write down the names of your loved one’s friends and neighbors. Then, write down the names of church members and social contacts of both you and your older loved one. Among these people are those you can count on.

Get another piece of paper and write down what might really help you. You’ll need to include one day, or at least a half of day, each week for you to have time for yourself. Yes, you do need it.


 How Can Caregivers Ask For Help? 

Here are a few more ideas for you to consider asking help with your caregiving duties:

  1. Once a month, ask someone to stay the weekend to give you a break.
  2. Ask one of your parent’s neighbors to check in and sit for a while, twice a week.
  3. Get someone to provide a ride to regular doctor’s visits.
  4. Have a church member pick up your parent for services.
  5. Get one of the adult family members to help out with yard work.
  6. Ask one of the adult grandchildren to come and help with housework – once a week.
  7. Consider meals-on-wheels for you loved one.
  8. Check out the local senior center for activities your loved one might enjoy. Many will provide transportation for a fee. Or ask one of their friends to pick them up.
  9. Find a local grocery store that delivers. There are those that you can put your orders in online.
  10. Ask two of your parent’s friends to take them out once a month. You might suggest a trip to the mall, or just lunch at a neighborhood restaurant.


Why Is Help and Support Important For Caregivers?

Not only will having more people involved in the caregiving responsibilities help you, but your loved one will also benefit from it. Staying socially connected is imperative for older adults. Each person we have conversations with and spend time visiting adds quality to our lives.

What my parents enjoy the most are visits with the great-grandchildren. They talk for days about what each one has done, and it seems to make them feel younger somehow.

Another tool that I use with my family is Facebook page. I have a facebook page set up just for family member and friends of my parents. I can update the whole gang with posts, and also ask for help when I can’t be the one to help out with my parents. The posts are seen just by the members of the page.

My youngest son is good to help with outside chores. But sometimes he’ll just take his Gramps to the hardware store. Last week, he took my dad to the doctor. This really helped my mom who wasn’t feeling well herself. My daughter will go for a visit, but she needs a little warning with her busy life. So, asking her ahead of time is the way to make sure she can come.

Take this extra time to take care of yourself. Make sure you’re getting enough exercise, fresh air and sunshine. This is not the time to go on a strict diet. Be sure to get plenty of sleep and don’t forget your own social life. We all need friends to keep us sane and happy!


Copyright © 2013 All Rights Reserved.


About The Author: Karen Everett Watson is a Gerontologist and has over 10 years experience as a Journalist. Karen has spent 4 years in the senior community interviewing retirement community residents.

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