Taking Care of You

Let's face it...not everyone is born with the volunteer gene.

As caregivers, we know that we have a little something extra that makes us want to help others. Our challenge is to not over commit. Our further challenge is to ask for help.

Asking for help can be difficult. Sometimes the request becomes complex. It can feel that we are admitting we can't handle everything. It can feel as if we are letting our loved one down.

There can be other reasons why it is hard to ask for help. Who hasn't been in that place of perfectionism, of feeling that our way is right way which makes it very hard to involve others in our caregiving.

Sometimes the barriers to asking for help are not inside ourselves but revolve around the people we would ask. It gets annoying when family members or friends don't see things the way we do and don't step up with an offer to help. When I speak with caregivers, I often hear the same complaints. What they need is reliability which they may not get from family, friends and even paid services.

Five tips for Getting the Help You Need

  1. Get clear about the help you need and want. What is the specific task, errand or duty that you need help with. When does it need to be done?
  2. Be interested in the results not the methods by which the task will be done. There are many ways to get to the same end result. Don't insist that tasks be done a certain way unless safety is an issue.
  3. Set aside the emotional baggage when you ask for help. Practice your request until you can ask for help in a neutral and postive way without whining, sarcasm or anger.
  4. Be grateful. Yes, I know in a perfect world you would not have to ask. Since you did ask and the person completed the task, be sure to thank him/her.
  5. Keep asking for help. You need to train your potential pool of helpers that you will be asking and continuing to ask for help.

Is it Time to Discuss Your Eldercare Challenges with an Expert?

Have your caregiving responsibilities left you stressed, angry or feeling guilty?

Do you suspect that your family member needs help and don't know where to start?

Whether you are an experienced caregiver verging on burnout or a new caregiver who is not sure how to help a family member, you can benefit from Eldercare Coaching.

To experience what's it's like to have an expert in your corner providing advice and resources tailored to your unique situation, click here to schedule a no cost 30 minute consultation.

Dementia Special Tips

Wandering-What to do about it.

Wandering is a serious problem for dementia sufferers and their families. Your family member is restless. He leaves the house and is lost before hardly getting out of sight of the front door.

This behavior is frightening and can be very dangerous. We have all seen stories in the newspaper or on the internet that talk about an older person who goes missing and is either never found or found hurt or dead.

Even before your family member begins to wander, enroll them in Alzheimers Association Safe Return program. This program offered in conjuction with MedicAlert registers your loved one and provides them with a MedicAlert bracelet or necklace identifying him as an Alzheimer's patient. Your contact information is kept on file to reunite you if your family member wanders away. Create a kit with a description and a recent photo of your family member for use by the police.

Use creative techniques and tools to keep your family member at home. You can purchase alarms that warn you when your family member has gotten out of bed or their chair and alarms that warn you when a door or window is opened. You can also place additional locks on doors that are not in your family member's line of sight. He is unlikely to look at the top of the door for an additional lock when he cannot open the door.

Never underestimate the resourcefulness of person who believes he is being held against his will or is looking for his parent or his home. I have seen an 80 year old man scale a eight foot fence because he believed that he needed to escape from his assisted living community to find his wife.

Divert your family member's attention away from leaving, if he is restless and wanting to leave, speak with him about what he is looking for and what is going on. For example, if he says that he is looking for his mother, you may be able to reassure him by saying that his mother will come by later and then engaging him in another activity.

Provide supervision during periods of restlessness, it can only take a few minutes for your family member to leave the house and get lost.

Upcoming Eldercare Coach Events

Caring for your Parents Support Group

Get the support and information you need from The Eldercare Coach and your fellow participants to be a successfull and well balanced caregiver to your parents.

Monday June 9 from 7-8:30pm Every Woman Health Club 611 Jefferson Ave. Redwood City, CA 94063 Cost: $20 per meeting.

Questions? Call Janice Wallace at 415-661-3271.