Put together a care team as soon as possible:
- Start accepting help while your loved one is still hospitalized or as soon as you receive a diagnosis. When someone volunteers to mow the lawn or bring food, don’t say “No.” Say “thank you.” Don’t be too embarrassed or proud to accept.
- Plan and schedule each task. Be sure to list everything you do in a day to allow family and friends to self identify how they are most comfortable helping. Using a website like lotsahelpinghands.com or one of your choice.
- List all of the tasks that need to be done on daily, weekly or monthly bases and keep this list with you and visible in your home. Remember you will have your hands full taking care of your loved one and your community is eager to help. Having a list available allows you to let them choose how they can help, which will keep them engaged longer.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- grocery shopping
- yard work
- doctor appointments
- trips to therapy
- socializing with your loved one (reading, art projects, walks)
- medication organization
It isn’t easy to ask for help or even to think of the right people to ask, but people in your community will offer. Remember caregiving is a marathon, not a sprint – conserve your energy for your loved one and let others help with some of the other tasks.
LEAN IN: If you are too uncomfortable to ask for help (many of us are), ask one person to own the task of volunteers and or scheduling. Then that person can set up lotsahelpinghand.com or buy or make a calendar, list tasks, and as people call or come they can volunteer and schedule themselves. Leave the calendar with a sign requesting visitors to review the needs and put their name next to the task for which they have offered their help.
RE-ENGAGE: Caregiving can be a long process and over time family and friends may fade away. Informing them that things have changed and there is an increased need is a great way to re-engage help.