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How to Ask For Help

There are many times when we need help. As a caregiver our responsibilities are great, and at times it can become overwhelming. But how do we ask for that help?

What do You Need?

First take some time and consider what type of help you need. Do you need help with food, shelter, housing, medicine? Do you need help with house cleaning, shopping, fixing meals, dressing, bathing? Do you need someone to sit with your loved one so you can get away for awhile? Do you need someone to talk with, discuss your situation with or a friend that can lend a shoulder to cry on?

  • Make a list of the things you need trying to include everything.
  • Prioritize your list. Ask yourself what do you need help with the most and which is most pressing.
  • Perhaps talking with your doctor, relative, friend or a therapist will help you clarify what your needs are.

Figuring out your needs and asking for help can be scary. Don’t be afraid to take that first step!

  • Take it one step at a time – look at your needs, one at a time, and see how that one need can be met.
  • If you can, arrange for help ahead of time.
  • Keep a list of telephone numbers handy for unexpected needs.

Who to Ask?

  • Family and close friends are often the people we turn to first in asking for help. But consider asking your neighbors and acquaintances as well.
  • There are various community clubs and organizations such as churches, community centers or support groups that can help during times of need.
  • The county social services, senior centers or the SouthWest Kansas Area Agency on Aging may be able to assist in a number of ways, including transportation and home meal delivery needs.

A sincere “thank you” once you have received help will go a long way in finding someone to help you in the future.

How to Ask?

  • Asking someone for help can be the hardest part but being direct and having specifics lets them know exactly what you need and allows them to move forward in helping you. For example: “Can you drive my father to the doctor on Thursday?”
  • When asking a friend or family member get their attention and then say, “I need help.”
  • Learn to hear no. But don’t let that stop you from asking. Even if someone says no to your request it is okay to ask.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask again or find someone else to ask. It may take a few tries before you find someone that can help you.

You may be asking for help now but in the future you may be able to return the favor.

Be Prepared

  • When people offer their help, be prepared to pull out your list of needs.
  • If you are a part of a club or group, send around a sign-up sheet at a meeting.


You may be surprised at how many people want to help but just don’t know how.

How Are You Doing?

Have you figured out what you need, made your list? Are you asking for help? Are you getting your needs met? If not, try a different approach.

Like all new skills it takes practice. Do you need help just once or on a continual basis? If your needs are ongoing, consider widening your resources.

We All Need Help Sometime

It can be an accident, illness or other emergency that can require us to seek help. Perhaps you need a break from the day-to-day duties of caregiving. Maybe you need transportation to a doctor’s appointment. But whatever it is, you can be sure that at some point, people will need to ask help from one another.

It Takes Courage to Ask for Help

We must admit we need help. We can not do everything by ourselves. Overcome false ideas that it is weak or you can’t take care of yourself if you ask for help. Dismiss negative feelings that there’s no point in asking, or there is nothing anyone can do. Don’t assume that people don’t want to help. Take the first step, be positive, and ask for help.

Asking for help takes practice. By learning to ask, you can get the help you need when you need it.

The Family Caregivers Program is funded in part from a grant through the Older American’s Act 1965 and Kansas Department of Aging.