Summary: From her years of experience in caring for her disabled brother Robert, Trish exlpores the all-too-common complaint from caregivers that they can’t find any help, and how “help” can be defined, and categorized in a number of ways.”Help comes in all shapes and sizes but usually doesn’t come with a neon sign….”
Author: Trish Hughes Kreis exclusively for Assisted Living Directory
One of the main complaints I hear from other caregivers is they can’t find help: my siblings won’t help, my friends have disappeared and government agencies won’t help or are too difficult to figure out if they have any help to give.
I have been fortunate in that I do have a lot of help. My husband, Richard, is a huge help with my disabled brother, Robert. My other brother helps, my daughter helps and I have strengthened existing friendships and gained new friends not lost them. I have even found help through government agencies.
However, it occurred to me that a lot of this help has to do with how I define help, if I recognize help when it comes and if I accept the help. In this first of a three-part series, we will explore the very complex issue of “help.”
Help means different things in different situations. When Robert was spiraling downward in a recent decline, I knew I needed help but wasn’t sure exactly what help I needed. Did I need someone to come in to assist with personal care? Did he need placement in a facility where more skilled nursing help would be available? Has a doctor not recognized something that is going on with him and do we need another doctor to help? Will new medications or an adjustment of his old medications help?
Sometimes our expectations of help are pretty grandiose. We want our caree to be cured or we want the present problem to be solved immediately. I knew I needed help but thought things would always be this way so thought help was only going to come in the form of respite or placement. As it turns out, help came as a hospital stay, a new diagnosis, new medication, adjustment of present medications, various therapies and an extended stay in a Skilled Nursing Facility before returning home.
Any of these can be thought of as help but the individual caregiver is the one who has to define the help that is needed and what will be useful. As a caregiver, it is important to explore all possibilities of help and not get stuck thinking of help as “that one big thing.”
The second part of this series is on recognizing help
So well done and so true. Caregiving is an enormous job. My advice is always accept help when it is offered and seek it when it isn’t offered. I especially appreciated the comment that even the caree can help. Indeed! Even if the task isn’t done to your standards, hopefully it eases your burden somewhat. I used to let Gary “Swiffer” and then when he napped I would re-Swiffer! He usually got at least half of the dust and dirt up!
6 February 2015 at 11:47 am
Excellent article, I ca not wait to read number two. You are so right, help comes in many shapes and form many locations. Searching online and finding other caregivers and asking them where the obtain help is a big one, that and finding federal, state and county web sites are important. Great job Trish, please keep them coming.
5 February 2015 at 2:51 pm