The Whitworths of Arizona, bringing science to you in everyday language.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Asking for Help

This last week, we’ve been stressed. My exchange student “granddaughter” gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. It wasn’t easy---50+ hours of labor at home, and 10 more in the hospital finally followed by a C-section. As we struggled through all of the twists and turns thrown at us by this delivery, I thought of the many caregivers out there struggling with Lewy which continually throws you twists and turns, gives you trials you are sure you can't handle—but you do. But eventually, it may come to the place where you need to ask for help.

Ursula so wanted to have a home delivery. She prepared for it for months. But eventually, she had to stop and accept more help. She had to go to the hospital and finally, after a spinal block, she relaxed and went to sleep. “I should have come here sooner, but I felt so guilty—like I was failing.” she said. Later, when they brought the baby to her, even though, she’d gone though surgery, she was rested. She could focus on this new being. She could BE THERE for her little son.

How many caregivers have said “I should  have done this sooner” after they finally put their loved one in residential care?” One caregiver told me, “If I’d only known how much I needed help, or what a better caregiver I’d be when I could be rested and able to really be there for my loved one, I wouldn’t have waited so long.” But, like Ursula, she felt she was failing to even consider it.  Of course, once she’d made the move, she found she was still her loved one’s caregiver. They’d simply moved to a different venue. Now, with someone else responsible for all the physical care, she had the energy to pay more attention to her loved one’s emotional needs. “Of course, he’d rather be home," she said. "But he’s really doing better here and a lot of it is because I’m not so worn out.”

We all want to be the best mom, wife, daughter, husband, caregiver, etc. that we can be. And sometimes,  like Ursula, we don’t realize that we need to ask for more help until we are well past when we really needed to do so. We don’t realize how tired, cranky, frustrated, and even scared we are, until we finally do ask for help. Then we look back with 20/20 hindsight and say, “I should have done that sooner.” There’s no sense feeling bad about that either. Just share your insight with someone else and hope they can use your experience.


  1. Well said: "once she’d made the move, she found she was still her loved one’s caregiver. They’d simply moved to a different venue." I care for my husband who has LBD. He's at home now and doing ok, but was in a rehab center for two months last summer. Wherever he is, I will care for him, advocate for him, and love him.
    You're right that as caregivers, we have to realize we need help before we get exhausted.
    Thanks for your blog.

  2. Thanks so much for your comment. We do encourage comments--we are here for caregivers and when you participate then we know we are doing our job!

  3. Yes asking for help is very hard. I care for my husband its been 4 years now and as he is only 65 could be for a long time yet. Your book has been an absolute life saver for me and finally I am able to cope with his outbursts without getting upset myself. The hardest thing I find now is having time away from him as he hates not knowing exactly where I am and will ring me several times a day just to hear my voice. It gets to the point is easier to stay home with him as I don't really get a break when away. Most of the time its hard to tell he has LBD however the mood swings and outbursts sure show how he is.