When to Give Advise

In a world of technology comes advise from everywhere and everyone.  WebMD, Google, and countless people on Twitter and Facebook.  Sometimes it comes from someone saying a simple statement.  A generalized statement about a situation that you know how to handle, a general vent, nothing major.  But then BAM!  You get someone who thinks they know best and starts giving advise.  Don’t do this, do that instead.  You need to take them/yourself to the doctor. You need to take this, not that.  You need to place them in a nursing home.  You need to take care of yourself.  You know what I want to say.. SHUT UP!!!

Ok, now that is out of the way.  This is what I mean.  As caregivers, we have backing of the doctors, nurses, hospice, social workers, and sometimes chaplains. Sometimes, there are days that there is so much that happens.  Caregivers get sick.  The person we care for gets sick, and when you combine it with their diagnosis, it does sometimes make things harder. Then you add in family members who like to add their two cents in when they have no clue on what is going on in the everyday goings on.  People give advise that they NEED to do this or that.  You know, its not always that easy.

In many cases, its not that bad.  People automatically assume the worst.  Take my mom for instance. My dad works (yes still, 45 years now at the same place).  I have chronic pain.  Mom got to a point that we didn’t know if she was going to be ok when left alone.  Yes, we could have placed her.  But that would not have been the right thing.  She still has a lot of life in her.  Yes, she has issues getting around some, but that is to be expected.  She has cancer in her hip and yes the pain makes it hard to walk, but it is no reason to place her.  We have a system that works for her.  Do days get rough ?  Absolutely. But that is why we vent.  We as caregivers need to vent.  If we hold it all in, we all will blow up and it won’t be pretty and things will generally be said that will be hurtful to someone.

There are times when people ask, what can we do to help.  First and foremost.. don’t give advise if you are not in the everyday, or at least frequency of helping with the person that needs caregiving, just don’t.  It’s not that we don’t appreciate it, its that its generally not needed.  Not pertinent to the situation.

If you want to help, this is what you can do.  Give your time.  All caregivers, especially when they are the soul one, it gets tiring.  They get tired, they need a break, they have chores that can’t be done, they need self care.  They need a mental break.  They need to be able to recharge, even if its for an hour.  You would not believe how sometimes a shower can make all the difference.  It’s like being a new parent all over again.  You can also give your time in another way… helping them with chores and/or errands.  Sometimes at the end of the day, dishes just don’t get done.  Sometimes making meals are hard enough in itself. Offer to help do laundry, bring over some freezer meals, washing their dishes.  Just something.   Another thing you can do is donate money and or gift cards.  Many caregivers have had to leave their jobs to care for their loved one and there are times we struggle.  I mean seriously struggle.  There are times they don’t know how the bills are going to get paid, get or get food in the house.  Giving money for bills is an amazing gift.  Bills get paid and food or house supplies are got.  Gift cards are also a great gift.  It can allow for food and house supplies got, clothes to be got, gas in the vehicle to get where they need to go.  In my instance, my husband can’t work because he is fighting his own illness and is disabled and I am working as a substitute teacher.  We all know that isn’t much, but its something.  That is why I want to go back to school.  But the most amazing thing that can given, an ear to listen.  Sometimes we need to just talk and cry.  No talking, no advise, just listening.  The same goes for when we post something on Facebook, on Twitter, or just say it to someone.

Sometimes we do need advise.  Don’t get me wrong on this.  Sometimes we do get to a point that we say, what would you do.  But just remember, if its just a rant, don’t give advise, because most of the time, we know what we need to do, we just have to get it off our chest.

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