How-To Identify Sources of Support

How-To Identify Sources of Support

You may be asking yourself, “Where do I find support? ”

Possibly the most commonly-asked caregiver questions is also one of the hardest to answering part since the response will vary from person to person.

Some folks can immediately rattle off the names of the women and men in their lives who are waiting in the wings; poised to assist them whenever called upon. Nevertheless, many care providers find themselves at the opposite position; desperately seeking someone to give them a helping hand or sympathetic shoulder.

A professor of gerontology at a college shared the following approach to assist you identify and vetting your pre-existing support network:

  • Create a list: Write the names of the people you socialize with on a daily basis. Anyone you could look to for assistance should go on this list, and also people who you may not consider to be a source of assistance. (Remember, this is a brainstorming session. Resist the urge to leap in feet-first and strategize or over-analyze. Just dump all of your ideas on to the page)
  • Categorize: Once you’ve compiled your list of names, it's time to categorize each person into one of four groups based on their principal strength. The four groups are: Doer, Listener, Respite provider and Critic.
    • Doer: Put a “D” next to the names of the individuals who are the “doers” in your life. Those are the people best suited to assist with day-to-day tasks, like bringing over a casserole if you become so swamped that you don’t have time to make dinner, or even coming more than one day to give an extra pair of hands to help clean the home.
    • Listener: Put a "L" adjacent to the good listeners on your list; Those folks who you can call and invite out for a cup of coffee so you can vent, knowing they'll listen rather than overshadow the conversation with their own woes.
    • Respite provider: An "R” goes to those people who may be sources of respite for you. These are the people who'll come over and take you out to dinner, or a film and talk about any topic, other than caregiving. Their gift is in assisting you re-connect with the other aspects of your life and personality.
    • Critic: Lastly, a “C” goes to the names of those individuals on your life who're harmful and critical; the negative Nancy's, the complainers and people who drain you of your energy and pleasure.
  • Make a plan: Use your newly-sorted listing to formulate an action plan. Can you use these various resources to assist you cope with the task of taking care of your precious one?

Each caregiver’s list will probably be different. You might find yourself staring at a depressingly-large amount of C’s and very few R's and D’s.

The Objective of this exercise would be to identify your ready-made resources and help highlight the gaps in your service network which have to be filled.

By identifying and playing to the strengths of your mates, family and acquaintances, you could ensure you get the assistance you want from the individuals who're best-suited to every particular task. You wouldn't ask a Helper to do the job of a Listener; it'd be embarrassing for them and not as useful to you.

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