I just read this amazing article written by Debbie Swanson for Forbes. She does a great job outlining the usual ways people try to help caregivers. She points out that dropping off food, or even more famous, offer to help if someone will just call, may not be effective. She describes the need to become a detective. Helping a caregiver requires investigating how to really help. She has great suggestions on how! Take a minute to read it- it’s worth looking at! Click here for story
From the point of view of the caregiver it’s really hard to ask for and accept help that is offered. Our society and upbringing teach us to be independent and to manage things for ourselves. While we may enjoy helping others, we hate having to rely on others for help. When caring for my husband with metastatic nasopharyngeal cancer I had many people say, “if you need anything please call” and they meant it. Problem is I would not ask someone for help.
What I found helpful as a Caregiver
What I found very helpful was when people just helped. In David’s final days a friend dropped off a sack of groceries at my door with a text telling me they were there. My friend took a chance j knowing I was getting a lot of company and picked up deli things so I would have food on hand. She did not stop for a lengthy visit. They had no concern about getting the “right” thing. A gesture of love (and the choices were amazing and helpful.) Likewise, I friends who called when they were at the store and asked if I needed anything. It was easy to ask when I knew they were already at the store! And most loving of all, was when someone stopped it with laundry baskets. They just came in and said, “load me up, I know you have laundry that needs to be done. I’ll do it with mine!” They did not ask so I had to consider if I was imposing. My friend put down a basket and said let me do this for you! Simple things get remembered. Simple things help tremendously!
It’s a long journey- be observant and you will find many ways you can be helpful and a little goes along way!