Why is it so hard to ask for help when we need it most?

Research has shown that asking for help often makes people feel uneasy because it requires surrendering control to someone else, and that it comes across as being needy. But the reality is that everyone will need help from someone at some point in their lives, and more times than not, people are more than willing to help if they're simply asked for the favor. 

Through our discussions with caregivers across the U.S., we discovered that having difficulty asking for help is a common theme among the caregiving community. Some things we've heard from caregivers include:

  • I don't want to burden my friends or colleagues with my personal problems. 
  • My family's business is private. 
  • I don't want to impose on their busy lives. 
  • I wouldn't even know what to ask them for. 

On the other side of the coin, we surveyed friends, family, and colleagues of caregivers, and we learned that the overwhelming majority of people actually want to show support and help a caregiver, but they just don't know how, or they haven't been flat out asked for something direct from the caregiver. Things we've heard from the social circles of caregivers include:

  • I didn't know what to get them or do for them that would be appropriate for the situation. 
  • I didn't have a lot of time to research something to send to them that would be helpful. 
  • Traditional "thinking of you" and "sympathy" gifts were outside of my price range. 

This shows us that we have a group of people on one side who want to show support to caregivers however they can (even though they don't know how), and that we have a group of people on the other side providing care to someone at home, and not knowing how to ask their friends, family, and/or colleagues for the help they need. 

Care+Giving's mission is to bridge that gap, and to help people show support to caregivers in a meaningful, supportive, and thoughtful way. 

Understanding what goes into caregiving can be immensely helpful in understanding how to be supportive. Every caregiver's situation is different, but the one thing that remains consistent is that it is time consuming work.

"The work is much more than just clearing out the guest room or setting another place at the dinner table. Depending on the health of the care recipient, it’s monitoring medication, preparing special meals, changing diapers, and bathing, plus figuring out finances, providing transportation to and from medical appointments, and more. But only three in 10 have additional paid help, and 27% struggle to hire affordable care in their area. One in four caregivers find it difficult to take care of their own health, and the same percentage report that their health has deteriorated because of caregiving." - Anne Helen Petersen, Vox

Caregivers need support from their friends, family, and colleagues, even if they might not always know how to ask for it. It starts by simply reaching out. 

Are you a caregiver? We want to hear from you! Help us better understand your wants/needs as a caregiver. Send us an email by filling out the contact form here

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