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Helping others help us

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Caregiver's are not alone in this a safety issue for all of us. However, we are a prime example due to lack of money and time. Keeping food and essential nutritional condiments long past their due date or just plain missing an item in the refrigerator as it is being cleaned therefore leaving a possibly spoiled food in the refrigerator can have devastating results. This is so easy to do and without a thought to the results. We are tired and what with the medical appointments, personal physical care necessary for our partner, cleaning out food products many times take a back seat to mopping up spilled food or changing dirty clothes.

There are ways to accomplish this task without taking away from our already busy lives. One way is to run a check of items in the refrigerator each evening when we are preparing the evening meal; another is if there is a neighbor or other family member who wants so badly to help - pass on this task to them on a weekly basis.

Sometimes it may seem to family that caregivers either do not need or do not want help; in most cases this is just the opposite. We want and need help, however feel that by the time we have explained what we need, we could already have already accomplished the task. There are two ways to alleviate this situation. One, the caregiver needs to let go of some of the excuses and expectations, no one individual will ever do this task or any the same as us, however they can do the task well. And two, those volunteering to help need to sign on for an extended period of time, no one time wonders. Offering and getting the directions; then only help one or two times, feeds right into the caregivers belief (and in some cases rightly so) that they can accomplish the task faster than having someone else help, due to explaining the need and providing directions.

It is also possible to take time in the beginning of the role of caregiver to make a workbook to list the tasks, we need help with and how we want them done. A workbook is great, besides the obvious, giving directions for the help necessary, this also gives information for others who want to help but are not sure how. If the concern is how do we thank our helpers for this wonderful treat, use “thank you” notes which have a special note just for them. Then place the note in or on the refrigerator or the bathroom, prepared and placed in the freezer a prepared meal. Have a workbook available for all family and friends to look at and take on whatever task they wish. It is amazing how much help we can get.

Taking care of ourselves is not selfish or lazy; rather it is a way of making sure we are here when the greatest needs arise for our partner.

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