How to Accept Help as a Caregiver

Are you a Caregiver? Have you ever been offered help, really needed it, but instead of accepting it said, “No thanks, I can do it myself”? There are many reasons why accepting help is difficult for some. However, accepting help is one way to prevent caregiver stress. Train yourself to say “Yes” to someone offering assistance by reminding yourself that others can help you and, in many cases, you can actually accomplish more by delegating to others. Remember, you are not a burden if you accept help from others, and it’s very important that you take care of yourself and not try to accomplish everything on your own.

Why Caregivers Should Accept Help

Your instinct when being offered help may be to say no. This is not uncommon for reasons such as: wanting to protect your loved one, feeling competitive, concern for your own privacy (or the privacy of your loved one), and a feeling of guilt. To move you from ‘no’ to ‘yes’, keep in mind the following:

You are not a burden

If someone is genuinely offering to help you and/or your loved one, it is okay to accept it. The offer may be specific (i.e. to cook dinner or pick up groceries) or vague enough to allow you to identify what you need assistance with. If the offer is on the table, then you should accept it and just simply say “Yes, thank you.” In fact, if you turn down the offer to help, you may be insulting the person offering. Your acceptance may even help that other person feel better because they are providing help to you and the person you are caring for.

It’s important to take care of yourself

As a caregiver, it’s extremely important to monitor your stress level and to be mindful of your own health and well-being. Accepting help may give you the time you need to focus on your own needs, just as you need to focus on the needs of your loved one. Getting help is not a weakness but an acknowledgement that we can all do more as a coordinated team.

You can let go, and still maintain control

Having someone else’s help is not an admission of weakness or a loosening of your control. In fact, having a helpful pair of hands can give you some time to refocus, recharge, and re-evaluate the situation. Your acceptance of help is a recognition of your own capabilities and needs in a positive way. You are still in control when you delegate work.

It may be a challenge for you, but the next time someone offers help, say ‘yes’! Take them up on the offer and you may just be surprised at the relief you feel. In the end, the benefit of accepting help is improving your well-being, as well as that of your loved one.