Asking for help is a challenge for many people. Whether it be at work or at home, it is human nature to want to accomplish things on our own – even when it becomes overwhelming.
We often feel like it is a sign of weakness, or we do not know how to properly articulate how someone can help effectively.
Either way, as a caregiver, the ability to ask for help is a necessity at times.
Family caregiving is a stressful and demanding job. As we get swept up in our everyday responsibilities, it is easy to forget to take a step back, to take a deep breath, and even to ask for help.
As life progresses we begin to take on new challenges often times spreading ourselves too thin. In these moments, we must check in with ourselves and recognize when our mental and physical well-being is being put on the backburner in order to fulfill our caregiving duties.
Many caregivers are not prepared for the number of responsibilities they take on as health issues can ramp up quicker than one would expect, leaving you no time to really process the extra work on your plate.
In these moments of stress, guilt, resentment, and loneliness, it is important to realize there are people and services available to help.
Here are some people you can reach out to when your caregiving responsibilities are becoming too much, or you are feeling alone. It’s OKAY to get a little extra help – we all need it sometime.
- Family or Friends
Your family and friends are often the people you trust the most. Usually they can tell when you are stressed or overwhelmed, however, you cannot rely o them for such insight at every turn. The ability to articulate our feelings and what we need when asking for help is an important skill.
Look to your family or friends and have open conversations with them about the responsibilities you are having a difficult time juggling. It is human nature for them to try and give you advice or try to solve your problems through conversation but that may not always be what you need. Sometimes, you may just need to vent. Their patience and listening skills may be enough to help you in that moment. Be able to communicate your needs, whether it be physical or emotional support, and then ask for help in a simple and concise way.
- Care Services
In some situations the help you need goes past personal relationships and must become professional. There are many services out there to help aging adults and whether it be physical or cognitive decline – sometimes the care needed is more than you can give.
Like your personal wellbeing, it is important to understand when the next step needs to be taken and when professionals need to become involved. Asking for help should never be a sign of weakness or embarrassment, but rather a sign of strength. Recognizing the signs of decline or burnout in yourself is important, and enlisting help when you need it is imperative. Care services are often flexible and accommodating to the client’s specific needs – making it a great option to give you the peace of mind to know your loved one is safe, comfortable, and in capable hands.
- Support Groups
Support groups are a great way to connect with people in situations similar to yours. Whether you go and meet with people in person or visit online forums to have discussions, it is a great way to alleviate some of the stress weighing you down.
By discussing issues with like-minded individuals, you have the opportunity to vent some of your stressors. You can also appreciate the stories of other people in similar situations and learn from their experiences. They may have advice for you that can be beneficial to your situation as well. Whether you participate in the discussion or not, sometimes just knowing you are not alone in your feelings or situation is enough.
We hope these resources can help you when you feel stressed or overwhelmed.
Family caregiving is not an easy task, and it is often a role we take on without question or time to think about how it will affect your daily life.
Understanding your boundaries and limitations is important in anything you do. Remember that your mental and physical health should always be your number one priority. If you are not healthy and feeling your best, you cannot help others to the best of your ability. It is as simple as that!