By Janet McLean
One of the most common pieces of advice you will receive as a caregiver is – ask for and accept help. It sounds easy but when you are bogged down with multiple demands on your time it feels like one more thing to do – it is easier to just keep doing things yourself. The problem is as the list grows your ability to keep up, sometimes over an extended period of time, becomes unsustainable.
In our March 9, 2017 webinar “Building a Gold Medal Support Network”, Jodie McDonald discussed the importance of reaching out and accepting help. She provided some very helpful tips for how to zero in on your needs and identify tasks others can assist you with in a way that makes it manageable for them and you. You can watch the recording of the webinar and download some helpful planning tools by following this link to our website https://www.familycaregiversbc.ca/events/webinars/.
Often the easiest ways for others to assist boils down to the practical activities of everyday living – shopping for groceries, preparing meals, driving to appointments. But not to be ignored, one of the key benefits of asking for and/or accepting help is it keeps you connected to people who care about you. It is important to pay attention to your intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual needs and find ways to meet those as well.
Below is a sample of online tools that can make asking for and coordinating help easier for you and your support network. They range from full spectrum private communication hubs that also help to coordinate and track assistance with identified tasks to applications designed specifically for certain types of assistance. They all help to make requests specific and time limited with the ability to follow up.
CaringBridge helps you create a free personal website to quickly share updates about your care recipient’s health journey. Share news and updates with everyone at the same time, activate your community and coordinate help, and receive emotional strength and support. https://www.caringbridge.org/
Lotsa Helping Hands features a free Help Calendar where you can post requests for support. Members of your community can quickly find ways to help, and Lotsa will send reminders and help coordinate logistics automatically so nothing falls through the cracks. It also facilitates communication so others can send encouragement and stay in the loop. Share how things are going, update requests, and receive support and feedback. http://lotsahelpinghands.com/
MealTrain is a free interactive online meal calendar with customized calendar dates, times and meal preferences. Invitations can be sent via e-mail and Facebook including reminder e-mails, online journal updates and an optional donation fund add-on. https://www.mealtrain.com/
Tyze Connecting Care is an online tool that brings people together around someone receiving care. If you’re helping to care for someone, Tyze is a simple way to keep everyone informed and get organized.Send updates to everyone at once from anywhere, keep track of everything in one place, access appointments, store documents and let family and friends know how to help. There may be a cost involved depending on options selected. http://tyze.com/caring-for-someone/