|Valerie and Laura help me celebrate my birthday|
When caring for a loved one it is important to build a support network that you can call on, a group of people that can be there for you each with their different functions depending on how much time they can give. No man is an island and not meant to go through this alone, they say it takes a village to raise a child and I think that it takes a community to care for their elders.
|Mum beats Sekani at table tennis|
My good friend Valerie reminded me recently that friendship means that you can call on each other in the difficult times and as a friend if I needed her to sit with mum then she would gladly be there for me as should all friends and the feeling is mutual. Both Valerie and Laura have been there for me and mum.
The problems arise when you are afraid to ask for help for someone to give you a break or a night to catch up with some sleep. If you don't ask, you will never know, they might even say yes! I think that generally most people want to help but don't know what to do, They look at you and think you have it all together, and you therefore just have to be specific about the help you need. People cannot yet mind read and don't want to assume what type of help you need, which can sometimes be as simple as just sitting with your loved one for an hour to give you a break or stopping to have a coffee with you so that you can get some conversation.
|Mum at a local church function|
Having that support network prevents feeling isolated for both you and the one you are caring for.
For now, think of 5 people friends, family and neighbors you can ask for assistance and who can be part of your support network. If we all try and help each other we can bring back a sense of a community.