Tell Us: But Why Don't They Help?


Tell Us: But Why Don't They Help?

mill-428195_640We regularly talk about family member and friends disappearing during our caregiving experience. We think we'll have their help until we just can't seem to find them. They're gone.

Sure, they have excuses--they've got to get their haircut (Sibling used that once) or they don't want to remember your caree this way.

But that's not the reason they don't help.

I think they disappear because it's their reaction to stress. We stay--we fight. They leave--they take flight. The vulnerability inherent in a caregiving experience can just be too much for some.

But, what do you think? Why do you think some family members and friends just can't and won't help?

Share your thoughts and experiences in our comments section, below.

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Different people fail to help for different reasons. My father has been, for the most part, very helpful, but occasionally he can't handle being around my husband. For him it's like reliving the slow and painful demise of my mother, who lost her battle with cancer six years ago. He really does a lot for us and I just have to respect that once in a while it's too emotionally painful for him. \r\n\r\nOne of my sisters-in-law appears to be utilizing the checklist approach for providing help. As in \"I did that once and now I can check it off my list.\" She brought food once. She drove him to an appointment once. In two years. She sent her husband and younger son over to our house once to take out the AC units. Check. Apparently how this works is that now they don't need to ever come again. My husband once asked his sister (who works two days a week) if she or one of her two grown sons (who are unemployed) could drive him to an appointment on a Thursday so I wouldn't have to take time off from work. She said she was busy (based on her FB page, she appears to be busy with napping, shopping, getting her nails done, posting on FB, getting massages, and cooking wildly expensive gourmet meals) and that she didn't think the boys could do it either because (wait for it...) they were too busy getting ready for a party they were going to be having on Saturday. After that we stopped asking. \r\n\r\nThen there's the related subject of people who \"help\" in the most unhelpful of ways. They show up unexpectedly at inconvenient times, they bring you things you don't need or can't use. My husband has told his mother until he's blue in the face that he doesn't like diet drinks, but she unfailingly shows up with diet Gatorade, diet soda, diet whatever. We stopped saying anything. We just wait until she leaves and throw it out.


I agree with Ladyleo, I think it is very individualized in the reasoning. In my situation, I think a huge part of it is FEAR. To mask that fear, he becomes assertive to the point of abusive in his remarks when he is asked for help.So many dynamics play into people's choices. We all have our own perception of \"right and wrong\" when it comes to subjects that make us feel uneasy. We all have also developed our own defense mechanisms to hide our weaknesses and fears. Some people retreat and make excuses, while others finger point and blame. It depends on their own coping skills. I think the reason most of the people who step in find a camaraderie among us all, is that we all share the same way of overcoming fears and living up to expectations. We all \"get\" each other, because we are all wired the same....or close enough to know what the other is feeling. Those who make the choice to run, hide, lash out, or whatever their coping mechanism is, will one day have a very long road out of their own personal grief.


AHEM. I guess this is the billion dollar question, Denise! I somehow believe it's what the person's character/personality is. I have 3 adult children. But I always knew that if I needed help or one of my friends - my eldest son would be the one to jump in to help - before I even had a chance to ask him. He was that way already as a little boy. I know for certain that had he been living locally - he would have been a HUGE help to me because that is just the way he 'ticks' but unfortunately he lives overseas.\nI have even noted this 'personality trait' in nurses. When Mom has been in the hospital some would strictly go through their nursing routine as if they were reading it off an instruction card and then there would be nurses who would be absolute angels, kind, caring and who went that extra mile to make Mom's hospital stay as comfortable as possible. The last time Mom was in hospital I had to go to an urgent dental appointment. One of those angel nurses who was due to go off as she had done her 12 hour shift - she knew how badly I felt to leave Mom with the nurses who would now be signing in and she told me to go to my appointment and that she would sit with Mom till I got back. I totally broke down and cried as I thought this was just the nicest, the kindest and most blessed of souls which this particular nurse had. For me this again shows that some people are just born with that extra gene which they were blessed with when they are born with. Just my humble opinion.\n\nWarmest wishes to you and yours..\n\nColette xoxo \n