Get Help So You Don’t Miss Your Life


Angela and her mom.

This afternoon on Your Caregiving Journey, @angelaholmes (Angela) joined me to share her caregiving story. You can listen to our show via the player, below.

For Angela, caregiving began at age four, when she helped her grandfather. She continued to help throughout high school, visiting her uncle, who had muscular dystrophy, until his death. She helped care for her grandmother, who died soon after her mom had a stroke. Her mom has lived with Angela, her husband and her two children for the past 15 years.

During our show, Angela shared that, during a recent visit, her sister told her she needed to have others help her. Because of that conversation, Angela asked her children to be more involved in caregiving. Turns out they were ready to help and had wanted to help but couldn’t because Angela kept doing everything herself.

When I asked Angela what advice and suggestions she would offer to a new family caregiver, she said: Don’t lose yourself, keep doing something that you love. Angela shared how, during a period in caregiving, she didn’t go out, telling herself that her friends wouldn’t want to hear about her mother and that she no longer had anything in common with them. She realized, though, that when she allows help, she gets a life.

She also had an insight about her mom–that her mom refused help when she was caring for her mother, Angela’s grandmother. Angela doesn’t want to miss out on her life because she doesn’t receive the help that’s available to her.

So: What help will you allow today?

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About Denise Brown

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

4 thoughts on “Get Help So You Don’t Miss Your Life

  1. Patty

    When others come to help they need to take the time to observe and see how the main caregiver does things. When the others pick up on how things are done then the caregiver can rest assured that they can actually help. I’ve had people try to help me but they would do things so differently than what the patient was used to that it just threw things off balance and made more work and stress. patty

    • Avatar of Wesley M.

      patty I wholeheartedly agree as a caregiver who resides with the patient I am here 24 /7 days a week and a hospice nurses been here twice … meanwhile my friend and patient is just becoming acquainted with doing personal maintenance and bodily functions in the tools provided near a hospice bed including a walker and a porter potty and with pulmonary fibrosis being on ogxyen gand then having high anxiety while persons hover around someone who is known independent.. well it demonstrated for a very shohrt hour a different highly anxious side that caused confusion weakness and some chaos

      yet after that one hour the other 23 hours of routine that myself as caregiver and my patient have become accustom set in and we relaxed and I called the nurse to observe and relate a very different more active stronger version of the patient

      on a scale of one to ten the nurse was concerned about 8

  2. Avatar of Peggy Caroline Cope

    I would love to be able to do things for me, but my sister who lives here with me and my grandmother goes to college and works two jobs. When shes home she doesn’t really help me with the choirs at home so usually I am stuck staying at home and not getting out at all. I can’t remember the last time I took time for myself. I am so worn out and tired. It has become depressing actually. If I could get out I wouldn’t even know what to do or where to go.

    • Avatar of DeniseDenise Post author

      Hi–It’s hard to figure out how to carve out time for yourself. Start small and work from there. Decide to give yourself an hour to go to your local library. Ask one of the librarians for recommendations of some new releases. Sit and read a magazine, check out some books. When you get home, you’ve got some good books to give you a break right there at home.

      Your sister needs to contribute to the household. If she’s tight on time, then she can contribute with money so you can hire help for your grandmother or help for around the house (like a cleaning service).

      You’re not in this alone. You’ve got support here.


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