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Myths That Prevent Caregivers From Asking For Help

Caregivers sometimes feel that they must soldier on alone through any and every hardship. While this is an admirable trait, it can often prevent the caregiver from seeking and receiving much needed help. Refusing to ask for help--or refusing accept it when offered--can cause burnout in yourself and strife in your family. shares a few myths that prevent caregivers from asking for help.

The Myth: "I shouldn't have to ask!"

Caregivers might feel this way for a few reasons, some more logical than others. A caregiver might be frustrated that family members seem to ignore obvious areas where they could pitch in and help. Modern science has yet to confirm telepathy, however. Your daughter might genuinely not realize that Grandpa's yard needs to be raked. It could also be that family members don't want to risk doing something wrong: your son would love to help out in the kitchen, but he's not sure about Auntie's dietary guidelines. The worst reasoning behind this myth is thinking that your family's lack of attention is indicative of a moral failing: "A good sister would do help with her mother's laundry," e.g. This is a toxic line of thinking that only hurts the situation.

The Myth: "I can't ask for [x] because it would be helping mostly me."

You don't want to ask your sister to take your dad to the doctor's office just because you need a nap. You don't want to miss your son's recital, but you just can't ask your brother to watch Mom this afternoon. You must take care of your own needs if you even hope to take care of anyone else.

The Myth: "I don't really need help for [small thing].

What if they get burned out, and then refuse when I need [big thing]?" If your brother refuses to come to your aid during a major emergency because you once asked him to drop off Mom at the dentist, his issues go beyond your mother's situation. You need to worry about burning out yourself. Allow your family to pleasantly surprise you.

The Myth: "Nobody else can do it as well as me."

At best, this attitude is foolish; at worst, it is a catastrophe in the making. Ask yourself why you believe this: because your family members appear disinterested? Because you've always been the "responsible one"? Because you've never shown them how?

Whatever the reason, you must share the responsibilities with someone. If something happened to you, your care receiver would be out of luck.

All of these myths can be dispelled by clear communication. has more myths that keep caregivers from reaching out at the full article. Remember that family members are supposed to help each other--but they can't help if they don't know you need it!

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