My hubby has been gone for ten days on a short-term mission trip in Dehra Dun, India. Ten days. I know, in the greater scheme of things, that’s not very long. If all goes well with travel plans, he should be pulling in the driveway in time for lunch today. His absence has made me keenly aware of all the little things he does for me that make it possible for me to care for my mom in our home. I am blessed and grateful.
More than ever, in the time that he has been away, I have also discovered how very blessed I am with friends and family. They’ve helped me clean my house, mow my lawn, and brought me dinner and companionship. These beautiful people have spent a little time with my mom so I could go to the gym, grocery shop, run a few errands, work in my garden, celebrate my birthday with my family, or take an unhurried bath. After a Facebook post about my sleepless nights, a couple of friends carved time out of their busy lives to take care of mom for a few hours, allowing me time to take a nap. One sweet friend even spent the night so I would be assured of at least one night of uninterrupted sleep.
We caregivers are made of some pretty strong stuff. But, sometimes, some of what appears to be “strength” is just a facade – a false wall of competence that gives others the impression that we’ve got it all together and that we don’t need any help. That facade is a form of pride which causes us to struggle to accept help when it is offered.
I have been hesitant to hit the “publish” button on this blog post, because I realize many of my fellow caregivers struggle with finding people to support them and give them a little respite. My heart goes out to you. As I pull my thoughts together into words to write, I am praying that God will bring into your life people who can help.
I think it is safe to say that most caregivers have heard someone say, “How can I help?” Or perhaps it sounded more like, “If there’s ever anything I can do to help, just give me a call.” This little missive is primarily written for you. I must admit, I have heard myself reply on far too many occasions, “No, thanks. I’m okay. But, thanks for offering.”
Here’s my tip – If someone offers to help, never turn them away. Don’t put off saying “yes” for a time when you really need it. You really need it now.
I would love to hear how some of you have been helped as a caregiver, or given help as a friend. Please share your ideas and thoughts in the comments below.
3 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Caregiving Tip: Accept Help”
Truth in all you say. I remember caring for my mother-in-law. I couldn’t have done it without my oldest helping with the younger ones. My husband traveled at least two weeks a month during that time. If my Skyla wasn’t there, and willing, I couldn’t have done it.
Taking her to the doctors was always several hours, and many times all day (multiple doctors). When she was in the hospital, I usually had to be there all day so I could be sure to catch all the doctors (she was very hard of hearing), and sometimes she just wanted someone there. Since it was a long drive, I couldn’t go back and forth between home. So, Skyla not only helped with the housework, she drove the younger ones to things, to church (when I couldn’t get there), and she even helped with the homeschooling.
You’d think she would have gotten burned out, but she willingly did it, because that was her part in helping care for her grandma. I think she enjoys caring for people, because now she is a live-in care giver so the husband can continue to work (including travel for his work). She is now doing what I did – taking her to doctor appointments, being sure she takes her medication, being a companion, preparing meals, and she has even had to be with her at the hospital once.
While my mother-in-law didn’t have the same issue, it can still be draining, and without help, impossible.
So, be thankful for what God provides, and don’t steal someone’s blessing by saying, “No,” when they offer to help.
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What a blessing Skyla has been to you and her grandmother, Jo Dee. I know how much it means to have family you can lean on for support when you need it. My daughter Beth and granddaughter Violet are constant sources of encouragement and help too. I’m blessed to have family who lives nearby and are SO willing to help. Violet is leaning toward a career in nursing, partially influenced by her experience in helping care for her great-grandmother.
I love your final bit of advice, “So, be thankful for what God provides, and don’t steal someone’s blessing by saying, “No,” when they offer to help.”
Having cared for my grandmother full-time for 11 years, I fully understand the struggle in finding respite care. I had siblings and parents, but didn’t want to “bother them” with my problems. If help is offered, take it! Care for yourself so you can care for others. Good post. Thank you!