Thursday, November 1, 2012

Just do it!

This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. Because of Dad's illness, my sister and I have gotten to know a lot of people in our position (taking care of an elderly parent), as well as a lot of people who themselves are struggling with disease and/or dementia. I think this speaks for a lot of them, and it comes from a place of love, but also frustration.

Note to families and friends:

We (the patients and caregivers) hear it all the time; that well-meaning, but vastly over-rated, sentence: "If you need anything, call me." Or, it's close counterpart: "If I can do anything, call me."

Well, you know what? If you want to do something for a burdened friend or loved one, just do it. Don't put the onus on them to ask. They are burdened enough. And there is a matter of pride involved. Nobody likes to ask for help. Don't put them in the position of having to do so. Seriously.

If you want to help, show up on their doorstep and announce you are going to make dinner. Better yet, stop by with a couple of casseroles and drop them off. Spend an hour at their house doing a couple loads of laundry. Call when you are on the way to the grocery store and see what they need. Send flowers to brighten up the patient's room. Run the vacuum and do a little dusting for them. Bake a cake.

If you want to do something, do it. For those who are in the trenches, words without action are pretty meaningless. And it is hard, so very hard, to ask for help.

Everyone wants to feel strong and self-sufficient. Help your loved ones keep their pride.

Just do it. (You'll be glad you did!)

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