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Family Caregiving for Seniors - SageCorner Blog

Asking for Help

by Lori Paterno on Thursday, February 6, 2014 11:06 AM

I don't know about you - but I hate asking for help.  I hate it for so many reasons I don't even know where to start.  I think the main reason is that I do not like admitting that I need any help in the first place!  I like being independent and not needing to wait or rely on other people.

I watch my husband in action and he is great at asking for help.  No matter what he is doing, he will easily speak up with some request like a "hey - can you get the door."  I, on the other hand, would struggle carrying boxes and drop some before asking someone to get up and open the door for me.  At these moments, I also secretly say to myself "why didn't someone get up and help me?"  It is as if I think they can read my mind.

I guess it boils down to pride.  I want the help - I just don't want to have to ask for it.  It puts me in some sort of "lower" position in my own mind.  There are other terrible reasons I don't ask for help.  For instance, I sometimes like to be totally in control and don't really want to have another perspective in the mix!  Sometimes, I'm afraid I am asking too much of others and that I somehow do not have a right to ask.

But, the truth of the matter is, asking for help is a strength.  Asking for help does not make you appear weaker and it does not mean you are somehow incapable.  It is wise to ask for help in certain situations.

I think of moms in the news who end up harming their children because they were overwhelmed.  I think "why didn't she just ask for help?"  Well, I know why - the same reason I fail to ask for help!

So, think about asking a relative to come sit with your mom for an afternoon so you can get a much-needed break.  Think about someone in your family who is easy to talk to and plan to ask that person for something.  You may be surprised at how much that person really wants to help but just didn't know what to do.

While you should assume people want to help you, you should also prepare for the rejection of your request!  The timing may be bad, maybe they have other things going on and need help, or whatever.  The key is to not take it personally.  Most often, it is not about you.  An "okay - thanks for considering it!" is all that is needed on your end and then resume the relationship as before.  And, it would be okay to ask that person again at a later time.

Asking for help can be hard, but it may also be one of the best things you can do to take care of yourself.  Used only as needed, it can also strengthen relationships with others who are more than eager to help.  And, it can help the senior you care for as well.

Blogs Parent Separator Lori Paterno
Author
Lori Paterno

Caregiving is hard work. This blog is designed to help caregivers with insights, practical ideas, and hopefully some humor along the way.

  

Lori Paterno, M.Ed. Has a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling From Penn State University.  She has over 20 years professional experience in Human Services, Counseling, and Education.

Lori Paterno, M.Ed. Has a Masters Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling From Penn State University.  She has over 20 years professional experience in Human Services, Counseling, and Education. 
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