Asking for Help Shows Strength

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. (Read that again.) Adult daycare, private duty home care, and assisted living are not the enemy. Caregivers are worthy of the time and energy needed for self-care. Help does not equal failure.

How can we make it easier for caregivers to ask for assistance? In general, many people think that asking for help is something to be ashamed of. What if we decide together that it is a sign of strength? Let’s talk about what makes it so hard to ask and a few reasons why it is a good idea to accept help.

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5 Signs of Strength in Asking for Help

  1. Recognize burnout early.
  2. Stop the shame game.
  3. You are still in control.
  4. Asking for help is a win-win.
  5. Without asking, nothing changes.

1. Asking for help reduces stress.

When caring for an aging parent or spouse, there is a significant risk of burnout. It’s easy for a caregiver to get completely wrapped up in the needs of the one being cared for and neglect themselves. Often a caregiver has lived in self-neglect for so long, they don’t even recognize that they have lost themselves – and their patience.

Asking for help is a sign of strength and self-awareness. All caregivers need rest and managing the care of another person without breaks or help only leads to burnout. Stress is a one-way road to anxiety and depression, so it is important to ask for help – even if it is hard, even if your voice shakes, even if it is scary.  You are not alone.

2. Caregiver guilt has got to stop.

Needing a break does not make a caregiver less than, inferior, or selfish. There is a long-standing belief that asking for help with a loved one somehow means that the caregiver is not fulfilling their duty. Or that the caregiver will be letting someone down or burdening someone else by asking for help.

The shame game is helping no one. Whether a caregiver is caught up in their own issues of guilt or family members expect more than can reasonably be given by one person, shaming a caregiver for asking for help is never acceptable. Every person experiences a need for help at some point in time and they must be embraced for having the courage to ask.

No matter how we got here – it must stop. Caregivers are capable, competent, and unselfish even when they ask for a break. In fact, they should be considered exceptional caretakers when they take time to focus on their own mental and physical health.

3. You are still vital to the care team.

It may seem scary to give up control of your loved one’s care. Asking for help may seem like an invitation for others to come in and take over the day-to-day schedule, leaving you adrift as a bystander. Because you are used to full responsibility, it may feel uncertain at first. You deserve a break – maybe try respite to get a little taste of what a few extra moments to focus on you would look like?

Other Helpful Resources

Adult daycare

Private duty caregiver

Mobile medical services

Private case manager

Caregivers often feel that they should be in control because they are the only ones who can provide the proper care for their loved ones. In truth, your deep emotional connection and protective instincts may result in a short-sightedness that refuses to gain insight from other perspectives. By combining resources to provide care, you and your loved one will benefit from additional support and a variety of expertise.

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4. Helping them helps you help them.

Let’s be honest. Asking for help is likely to avoid a crisis in the long run. Those who you will turn to for help in a crisis would rather have systems in place that they can refer to. So, having resources in place helps them help you (which helps them). Easy win-win, right?

Think of the person (or people) who is most likely to help you should you experience a crisis. If you are caring for a spouse, your adult children may live in another state. Or if you are an adult child caring for an aging parent and still working, how many more sick days will work allow? This is a tough position to be in if you haven’t been willing or able to ask for help and have resources already established.

As a caregiver, being open to other resources is the least selfish thing you can do. It shows insight, foresight, and planning that allows others to step in should you experience a crisis. It takes a village to care for a senior. Let yourself get used to help on your own schedule before a crisis limits your options.

5. The time for change is now.

It can be hard to ask for help. But it can be even harder to know if someone needs help when they don’t ask for it. Suffering in silence is not a healthy choice for caregivers. Many people offer help without thinking twice, but how do we ask for help?

How to Make a SMART Request

Specific – clearly state what you need help with and don’t leave room for interpretation

Meaningful – explain why you are asking

Action-oriented – explain exactly what needs to be done

Realistic – think about what this person may be able to assist with

Time-bound – state your deadline

Source: calmerry.com “How to Ask for Help When You Need It”

Asking for help is hard. We all learn to be self-sufficient and hear about the importance of being independent. But the truth is – we are all interdependent. All beings thrive when there is a willingness to accept help as well as to help others. Interdependence must be embraced for the growing numbers of older citizens to be supported.

Why Does It Take Courage to Ask for Help?

Can we normalize asking for help so that courage isn’t even part of the conversation? Aging is a part of life, and everyone needs the space to be able to do it in their own way. Whether the feeling of judgment is real or imagined, every caregiver should feel the security and relief that comes with trusting someone else to help with the care of their loved one.

Knowing when it is time for help can be difficult. Most professionals will tell you to look for help before you begin to feel the first signs of burnout or stress. Take the time to consider your options and put a plan in place. You may find that personal interaction and helpful assistance from an in-home caregiver create a little magic for you, too.

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Who Can I Ask for Help with Caregiving?

For help that can be flexible and grow as your needs change, Private Duty Home Care is a logical choice. With services that range from companionship to meal preparation to assistance with hands-on care, a private duty caregiver is an invaluable addition to your care team. Introduce a private caregiver to your daily schedule and let them gain your trust as you adjust to having help.

Ready to practice asking for help? Learn more about how the services of Private Duty Home Care can build up your confidence and provide time for self-care in the Resources Section of our Blog.

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