On September 10th, the Toronto Star published a story about caregiving in Canada that summarized some recent research from Statistics Canada.
In addition to discussing the number of caregivers in Canada, this story looked at the type of help that caregivers provide. When I read this story, it reminded me of how much my Tyze network has helped me to ask for help. According to Statistics Canada, transportation was at the top of the list for caregiver tasks:
According to Statistics Canada, The most common type of help, provided by 73 per cent of all caregivers, was transportation to run errands, shop or attend medical appointments.
From my personal experience, I feel that these numbers really resonate. When you are a caregiver, it can seem like your whole life is spent driving around, worrying, and waiting in waiting rooms. When I set up a Tyze Personal Network, I began embracing a new way of asking for help. When my mom had an appointment, I would reach out to the network of support people we had invited into our network. Most of the time, someone would step up and allow me to avoid missing work…or take a much needed break from running around. Tasks that involve errands and transportation are ideal for delegation. These are great opportunities to ask for help! The following is a step by step example of how to ask for help with Transportation.
How to Ask for Help with Transportation on a Tyze Personal Network
- Add the upcoming appointment to your Tyze calendar and include all relevant details.
- Send out a network message and ask if anyone is available to provide transportation that day. Remember: It is not just a task to be completed, it can be a nice opportunity for a visit.
- When someone volunteers, you can thank them in a personal message or thank them in a network message. Sometimes it is nice to thank someone in front of an audience.
How to Provide Help with Transportation on a Tyze Personal Network
If you have the chance to become a support person in a Tyze network, it is a great opportunity to make a big difference in someones life. When you step up and offer a ride to an appointment, you are creating tremendous value for the entire network. In addition to sharing the responsibilities, you are helping to normalize the behaviour of helping and reinforcing the idea that we can provide support as a network. It is not about any one person being the hero all the time…and then crashing and burning out from the exhaustion of it all.
When you offer a ride to an appointment, you have the opportunity to provide social connection, practical help, and respite (a break) for the primary caregiver.
- Social Connection
As you may realize, it can be very stressful and boring to sit in a waiting room and speak with doctors. You can create tremendous value by simply being there and chatting. Never underestimate the power of hanging out and making small talk! This is something that can provide a distraction from the challenges of health issues. It can also be a way to take a break from being in a medicalized reality 24/7. When you have health concerns, it is common to feel as though every conversation is about medication, symptoms…or ideas for miraculous cures.
Accepting someone exactly as they are and connecting from this place is extremely valuable. One of my mom’s favourite support people was her friend Graeme. They just hung out and chatted. It was a nice dose of normal.
- Practical Help
If you want to ensure that your help is top notch, it is great to look over all the information that you need to know for getting to the appointment. If the address is unfamiliar, you can look it up on google maps. It is also smart to ensure that you have the phone number for the office, in case you get lost or stuck in traffic.
When you offer the ride, you can ask whether it would be helpful to take notes at the appointment or simply wait in the waiting room. Taking notes can be extremely helpful. However, it is also important to give privacy and personal space during the appointment, if that is what is preferred.
- A Break for the Primary Caregiver
When you help out with transportation or errands, you are also providing a break for the primary caregiver. This can give an opportunity for them to focus on self-care, avoid missing work and/or prevent caregiver burnout. It can also give them a chance to address the endless list of tasks regarding more personal aspects of caregiving. Never underestimate the value of giving a caregiver a break!