Needing help is universal
When we are younger, asking for help is a part of life. As we learn and grow, we often become more resistant to reaching out for help when we need it. Seniors may find it challenging to reach out for a variety of reasons, from old habits of living independently or for fear of appearing helpless. Asking for help as a senior can feel overwhelming at times. No one ever wants to feel like a burden. However, there is no shame in asking for help. Learning the art of asking for help is essential at any age.
Asking for Help - Knowing When
Knowing when to reach out is a crucial first step. If you are feeling overwhelmed or depressed, the best thing to do is to seek help, whether that is from a family member or a professional. There are many services in place to help seniors, whether the need is assistance cleaning, having someone to come over to cook meals, or speaking with someone about your mental health.
The Village to Village Network
The Village to Village Network is a membership-driven, nonprofit organization offering many services to seniors in local communities. With affordable services and access to volunteer programs, VtVN is a great resource often operated by the very seniors living in your community. Services include transportation, inspiring health and wellness programs, home repairs, social and educational activities with access to vetted & discounted services. To quote their own webpage, one of VtVN main goals is to, "Positively impact isolation, interdependence, health and purpose of their individual members to reduce overall cost of care". This organization brings the values of volunteerism and sense of community to a whole new level.
To find a Village near you visit the Village Map page.
Keep in mind - Everyone Needs Help
Remember that everyone needs help, and asking for it should not be shameful or embarrassing. In fact, asking for help can help increase relationship bonds. While we may fear that someone will say no to our requests for support, the truth is most people want to help, according to a 2008 Cornell University study. While everyone may not be in a position to help, most people will be happy you reached out. Talk about services that might bring peace of mind. Iamfine’s daily automated check-in phone calls are a great tool to touch base each day and works very well. We've even had some successful lifesaving interventions. Remember, it’s not a replacement for human interaction.
Reach Out to Multiple Family Members
You may have to ask multiple family members before you find someone who can help with what you need most. If you need someone to bring you groceries, your son, who just had a baby, may not be the best option, but your niece who already commutes through your neighborhood could be the right choice. Sometimes asking multiple people will be necessary to find the right person to help.
Hearing “No” Is Okay, Don’t Give Up!
If the first person you call says no, don’t give up. Keep asking for help, even though it can be hard. We are so used to the mentality of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” that we forget how to ask for help when we need it. The more you ask for help, the easier it becomes. And the more you get the help you need, the easier your life becomes.
Asking for help as a senior can be hard, but it is essential to remember that most people want to help. Instead of continuing to feel overwhelmed by the things you can’t accomplish on your own, ask others for help. Once you ask, you will be amazed at the results.
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