Get Help!

Caregivers #1 recommendation!  

Click on the following links to read the heartrending account of a caregiver, who’s husband has dementia. Together they were approaching brink during COVID. . .

Accepting the Gift of Caregiving:
Caregivers encouraging one another

Fatigued, in need of respite – Accepting the Gift of Caregiving

Caregiver support to the rescue! – Accepting the Gift of Caregiving

When I read the above July 4th and August 19th articles by JAS

  • My heart ached.
  • My bones felt exhaustion.
  • My ears heard her cry for help. 
  • I sensed the years she had aged.
  • I felt old right along with her. 

I understood the lesson she learned. It is a major takeaway of What to Do about Mama?  

Ask for help!  No one knows you need it if you do not ask. 

The number one recommendation from the caregivers who contributed to What to Do about Mama? get help. Caregivers tend to step in with their “can-do” attitudes and continue to shoulder ever-increasing responsibility until they reach the point of being crushed by the burden. So, whether you hire help, accept help, or both—just do it!

What to Do about Mama? p. 170

Caregivers: Beware of your care receiver wanting “only you” and the flip side of the coin—feeling that you are the only one who can provide care. In the beginning of the caregiving arrangement, it may all be “easily” manageable. But you have to look ahead and realize that inevitably the care receiver will have changing and increasing needs. If you set a precedent at the beginning that other people will be involved, you will set limits on your loved one’s dependency. Initially, contact with other people can be as simple as going to the local senior center or establishing relationships with “friendly visitors.” Gradually bring in help for home support and/or personal care, as needed. By the care receiver acclimating slowly, accepting “strangers” into the home won’t be as threatening. Also, encourage other family members to visit, assume responsibility, and afford you the opportunity to “get away.”

What to Do about Mama? p. 259


4 Comments on “Get Help!”

  1. jas says:

    Thank you for finding and following my blogsite, Accepting the Gift of Caregiving and sharing it on your site. I believe caregivers learn from other caregivers. That motivates me to write my ‘real-life’ observations for my site plus my books. We have been in a difficult place lately, so I put it in words. My Love, at 82, is at home, working his way through stage 7 Alzheimer’s. I find writing out what is going on helps me find my way — my wish is that I can help others. I keep learning, too, from reading stories others share. Thank you for your focus on my site in your piece, “Get Help!” I hope your readers find something that they can relate to. Judy Allen Shone

    • I found your post to be very moving and relatable–the kind of material that I like to use for my own blog posts. I wrote my book, What to Do about Mama? as a way to process my caregiving experience and to share what I learned with other caregivers. I can’t say that I feel very successful in having reached many people. It seems to me that people fall into three groups: “pre-caregivers” who think they don’t need it yet; “caregivers” who are too busy; and “post-caregivers” who just want to put it all behind them. I will admit, however, that I don’t enjoy the marketing process. It requires so much social media involvement–all of which is very frustrating for me to navigate.

      I hope that your blogging is effectively cathartic for you. I just spent two weeks with my brother (a retired family practice physician with Lewy Body Dementia) and sister-in-law (now a “retired expert” in the aging field, specifically Alzheimer’s disease). She is now experiencing caregiving first hand–which may be more challenging than even she could have imagined. Their experience gives me a better idea of what you are going through. Thank you for sharing it with others. I’m sure there are many who appreciate the way in which you validate their feelings as they navigate their own journeys.

      Barb Matthews

  2. jas says:

    You are so right…it is a tough marketing challenge to pinpoint the reader at the time they feel they need help…(Authors of caregiver books, take note!) For me, with Covid I could not get out to talk to people…plus, who can do that when they are taking care of someone in late stages of Alzheimer’s! So I learned!

    The two publications came out in the pandemic period. My books are first hand oberservations and experiences, not ‘how to’ guides, and probably would need a specific audience of caregivers where I can talk to them personally. I have found personal contact makes a huge difference. People do like to discuss the topics in the books. I just need more connections with them in a ‘live’ setting. But I can’t do it. So I totally understand those marketing obstacles.

    The blog was also a result of my learning things I never dreamed I would encounter, and I wondered if others might be in the same shoes. I guess a few relate, at least…those who follow the blogsite. It is there for those who are drawn to it. It grows slowly, although I do not have any goals for followers. I just have goals that some words in the articles will help someone. I guess we never know!

    You have written so much, you are definitely an expert by now, although I imagine you feel like I do: I learn something new every single day. My most recent revelations are that My Love knows fewer words than I realized, yet I interpret his responsesin ways that lead me to think he does…I interpret incorrectly! His responses are just “yes” or “no” automatically, I feel sure. But I have to get up and touch the item I am talking about, I cannot describe it or tell him where it is. I can no longer point. I must get up and go touch it. By then, he has no idea what I was talking about related to it. Heck, by then, sometimes I forget, too! ha! So conversation has dwindled over the last couple years to smiles and hand holding. So happy we have connected. Thank you, Barbara.

    • You’ve mentioned that your books are first hand observations and experiences, not “how to” guides. Mine is, too: “This book offers guidance to present and future caregivers–based on the real-life experiences of the authors and other caregivers who have openly and honestly shared their joys and heartaches. It isn’t a book by “experts,” but by people in the trenches–people like you.” I think that is why I like your material, too. None of this “10 easy steps” nonsense. Caregiving is never easy.

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