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How To Choose Caregivers And Get Family & Friends To Give You The Help You Need


Tips that have helped other people get help from famiily and friends follow. Please share tips you learn to help other people in a similar situation:

  • Make a list of everything that you have to do daily, weekly and monthly. Make a note about special skills or knowledge that may be needed for each chore. For example, taking out the garbage in your household may require a strong back. Keeping track of medical bills may require knowledge of how to use a particular computer program or maybe just being methodical and filing bills in the correct manila folder. (We have a simple system for keeping track of medical bills, noted in "To Learn More.")
  • Make another list of everyone who might be able to help. 
    • Beyond your immediate family and friends, think of people in your neighborhood, in your church, synagogue, or mosque. (Don't forget children who may want to earn a few dollars). Think about social and professional groups to which you belong. 
    • Note each person's particular skills. If there are weaknesses, note those as well. Also note their availability. For instance, some people may only be available to help early in the morning or on weekends.  
  • Match the people and their abilities to your tasks.
  • Ask for help directly by saying something like "I could use some help."  Challenging someone or trying to make them feel guilty seldom works.
  • As Jane Brody of the New York Times suggests: "Play on people's strengths and egos and respect their weaknesses.To a relative who's good at carpentry, you might say, "You're so good at building things. I really could use a ramp so I can get ... out of the house more esaily."  But don't ask Aunt Rose, who's a nervous driver under the best of circumstances, to ferry you ... to medical appointments."
  • If someone asks what they can do to help, give them a job to do. Add how appreciative you are for the offer.
  • Create a web page where you list your needs. While you're at it, include information about treatments or about how you are doing so you don't have to repeat it for people.
  • When someone says "no," assume it is about the particular request and not that they are refusing to help. If you have a question about the refusal, ask politely - not in a challenging manner.

If you're not up for doing taking these steps or asking people directly, ask a family member or friend to do it for you. In a way, this may be easier because it makes it easier for people to say "no" when they need to.

Be sure to let people know how you appreciate what they do for you. Dont' just do this once. Do it on an ongoing basis.

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