"Courageous care partners recharge with self-care, striving for peaceful pinnacles
in patience, persistence, and positive 
changes, knowing when to conquer and when to comfort."

Lend a Hand in Help

Aug 20, 2019 by Eileen Adler

As a young mother, I joined a baby-sitting cooperative, so asking for help in that situation was the norm. Later, when I began teaching elementary school, asking for help in a professional setting was easy. But now I am a care partner and asking for help seems much more challenging, often leaving me with empty uncomfortable feelings in the pit of my stomach.

                I want to evaluate what I need help with and prioritize its importance so that I won’t overstep someone’s kindness. I wanted to match my request with the skillset of the person I’m asking. Laid out so logically, makes it seem easy, right? From my formal education as a teacher, I learned that you never ask a question to which “no” is the answer but rather provide two acceptable choices; they choose, and I get the help. What I really want is some time when I am not the primary care partner, so I thoughtfully pondered the five W questions: Who? What? Where? When,” and Why? to receive the much-desired response, “sure, I can do that.” Rather than pulling out our calendars or being very specific, I approached my friend with a different strategy. I suggested that when he was out and about running errands or working at home on a project, maybe he could invite my husband to join him for a few hours providing me with the help of a much-needed break. Yes, I received the much-desired response I was seeking, and within two days the phone rang with an invitation! I’m feeling more confident that in the future, I will be able to ask for more specific help. As children, we would walk to a neighbor’s home, knock on the door and ask if our childhood friend could come out to play. It felt just like that! Spontaneous and so appreciated.


               Self-care Ritual: Be careful what you ask or wish for – we’ve all heard this warming. Shel Silverstein wrote the poem “Helping,” explaining how everyone helped except for Zachary Zugg who broke Jennifer Joy’s toy admonishing us that some help is what helping is all about and some we can do without! Practice asking for help and offering to help, extending a hand to someone regardless of their age.