I wrote this last night and want to share it.

Posted by anncgrl @anncgrl, Feb 21, 2017

How may I help you?

I hear this question often these days. Well meaning people with good hearts and willing hands ask me this question. I don’t know what to say in response. We are loners in our home. The idea of anyone coming in and helping creates a discontent in me. Not that our place is clean and ordered. It is our place. With rare exception we have always chosen to go out rather than have anyone in and the dementia has not changed that about us.

How may I help you?

This question requires me to think. I shrug it off and run as fast as I can peeping over my shoulder to see if I am being followed by the “how can I help you” people.

A lovely group of men came and installed an awesome ramp for us. No cost. A friend of mine saw the need, organized the people and they arrived and proceeded to build the ramp and built it professionally as well. We peeked out the blinds and followed their progress. Conversations of our gratitude inevitably led back to their gratitude for being able to help . So I stood and Robert stood a little and we watched and felt cared for and loved and cherished. With the minimum of fanfare they left one day. On to their next project is what I am thinking.
How did they help me? Obviously the ramp and paying the cost of it was a huge help but how did they help me individually.

They helped me accept help. They brought everything including the plan, the wood, nails, schedule, water, food and their own conversation. They helped me by beautifying the front of our home and by fixing the steps at the back of our place. They helped me to understand that someone saw us and got it. They got it and they knew where our journey is headed and they understood the road ahead. They helped me to feel less lonely, less alarmed at all the things that need doing. They bore our burden.

How may I help you?

Share my burden. Know me. Know my need.
Understand the journey or ask me to talk about it. Then love me and suggest a frivolous snack.

Did I mention that yummy snacks play a huge role in helping? They do. I don’t know why. They are comforting and child-like and help me experience a child-like pleasure.

How may you help me?

Let me help you. Ask me to do something that will help you. It sounds odd but helping someone else is the greatest way to get outside of suffering and into relieving suffering. Keep it simple but not condescendingly so.

How may you help me?

Pray. Pray. Pray.

How may you help me?

Love your life. Live your life. Remind me that this too shall pass. Bear my burden and I will bear yours. Inside of that is a truth I do not understand. It is true. It works. But I do not understand it.

I like the frivolous snack ! In desperation I did just that last week. My LOML of 20 yrs was very sick with the flu. Against my better judgement I bought him his favorite chocolates and just left them in the bedroom where he cocooned himself for 2 wks. He ate them and then let me bring him soup and salad. Slowly he physically got past this awful bug. In his thoughts he was probably more anxiety ridden as dementia sufferers tend to get that way from physical malady. We are back on our peculiar “even keel” our ever changing “new normal”. Thank you for getting it, only those living in this reality truly “get it”

I read posts everyday, but seldom reply. But your post hit so close to home, that I must reply. My husband has dementia and we also get the “How may I help” offer. We too have never entertained or wanted others in our home. The people we thought should come by (family, our pastor, neighbors) never came. Then a new resident we had just met decided my husband could get better treatment at a nearby VA hospital. Our new friend has been driving us for appointments after he assisted in getting us set up. His friendship and kindness has helped us be more willing to accept help from others. Incidentally care from our VA Hospital has been terrific, And timely!!

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