As a caregiver, the phrase you probably hear most from friends and family is “What can I do to help?” As you juggle the responsibilities of caring for a loved one through an illness or crisis, as well as the every day, ongoing daily tasks, ranging from family to career, those offers of help can be both a welcome relief and additional burden. Here at Lotsa Helping Hands, hundreds of thousands of caregivers have accepted community help during times of need. We recognize that you may find all those offers of help overwhelming, so here are a few ideas to empower you the next time you hear that question.
It’s tempting to feel like you can do everything. Don’t allow guilt or a sense of duty drive you to decline offers to help. The Caregiver Action Network states that accepting help and caring for yourself are among the most important tips for caregivers. When you are exhausted, stressed, or distracted, you have less energy and focus to give your loved ones. Remember that the community around you is compelled by love for you and the person you are caring for. How would just a little community help bring a bit of relief to your every day life? Start small by saying “yes” to a warm meal or an offer to drive to your next appointment. Sometimes just a small task can bring much-needed respite.
Having an answer to the question “What can I do to help?” can take the guesswork out of your community’s support. The AARP recommends making a list of your needs and your loved one’s needs – from appointments and schedules, to meals and errands. Keeping that list handy gives you an answer to the question, and also gives the community options to choose from. Even those with busy schedules may be able to send a meal or run an errand along their daily route. Once you’ve made your list, plug it into the calendar in your Lotsa community. When people ask what they can do to help, you can send them to your community. Your answer will become as simple as “Here’s my Lotsa Community. Feel free to join and sign up to help!”
Create a Self-Sustaining Community
Help the community help you by setting up a free Lotsa Community, or ask someone in your community to do so on your behalf. This is a great way for those who are too far to visit or deliver meals to be involved and help you. Our service gives you an opportunity to share regular updates and keep friends and family connected. Soon you will find the community taking on a life of its own. Building conversation and encouraging support, the community will act as your hub of support.