Question: How do you get family to help without begging?
Dr. Amy: Taking care of household chores while also being a caregiver can be physically and emotionally draining. Many people have no idea how much work it is. I encourage you to ask for more help. Very often, people just get absorbed in their own busy lives and assume that if you are not asking for help you must have everything under control. As a caregiver, it’s obvious to you that you need help. Surprisingly, it is not always obvious to others.
In my experience, most people are willing to help. But how we ask for help can affect whether we get the results we want or not. The following tips may help:
Write down all the tasks you perform for the person you are caring for, and all the tasks you perform for your family. It is easier to ask for help with a specific task than to just ask for help in general. And it is easier for people to agree to helping with a specific task rather than just to helping in general!
Decide which tasks other people could help you with. Everyone goes to the grocery store, for example, so it’s easy for a family member or friend to pick up groceries for you while they are doing their own shopping.
Be realistic about what each person can do given his or her age, relationship to the person you are caring for, and what other commitments they have.
Sometimes it easier to spread tasks over a larger number of people so that no one feels overwhelmed.
Be clear about the type of help you are looking for. Give enough detail so the person understands what is involved
Ask the person if he or she would be willing to help—it’s important to ask a direct question. If you are feeling angry or resentful, try to let go of your feelings before you ask for help so you can approach the conversation with an open heart and mind.
Express your thanks (assuming the person agrees to help)
If you don’t ask for help, the stress of constantly feeling overwhelmed and frustrated may wear you down over time. That’s not good for you or for anyone. It’s vitally important that you take care of yourself. Good luck!