How can I approach caring for someone who won’t accept my help?

by Caregiving Questions0 comments

Dear Karen:

My sister Tess is a diabetic and has been hospitalized frequently.  She recently had a foot amputated and is struggling to regain her mobility and independence.  Tess lives alone and has frequently denied that she needs help, but visiting her apartment it is apparent she needs help.  What would be the best way to approach this subject her?  We all love her and want to help her recover.


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Dear Bobbie:

  • Janet Clark from Huntington, Indiana offers, I think, some good advice on your situation.  She says, “In your broadcast, you might mention from time to time, the importance of LETTING people be your care-givers, if you are on the receiving end.  I struggle to be independent, and most of us want to be, but there are times when WE are the ones in need, and we must be willing to receive.  I was seeing a counselor when things were tough in my marriage.   One day, as he was setting the next appointment, I told him that I couldn’t return.  When he learned that it was because of finances and I was refusing his offer for free service, he said ,“We both have needs.  I have the need to give and right now you have the need to receive.  Please don’t deny me the right to have my need met.  Let’s meet each other’s needs.”  And the counseling continued!
  • A friend of my has a list of health problems and also has great financial needs; so, whenever I receive a “God-nudge” (A “God-nudge” is when a person who I do not see on a regular basis keeps coming into my mind, especially when I am praying.), I give her a check, and when she protests, I tell her, “That God nudged me to give you this check.”  So, Bobbie, if you feel in your mind and heart that you need to help Tess, consider this a “God-nudge” and tell Tess about “God-nudges,” and then help her.
  • Throw a “Barter Party.”  As you know to barter is to trade goods or services without the use of money.  So what are Tess’ gifts, hobbies, or things she loves to do?  Does she enjoy cooking, singing, sewing, painting . . .whatever her gifts are is what she contributes to the party.  The other party participants give their gifts (hobbies, talents and spiritual gifts.)  For example:  A party needs:

Food: lots of food –  Who would like to bring the food?
Several people could bring items for Tess’s freezer.

Music: Do some of the individuals have a great collection on CDs?  Who plays a guitar?

Repair and Maintenance:  Is there a handy man or woman the group?

Other barter gifts might be:  Cleaning, organizing cabinets, yard work, and gift certificates for other services.

Hopefully, you get the idea of how a “Barter Party” can be fun and helpful and caring—all at the same time.  Everyone contributes, including Tess.

If you try this, let me know how it was received  and if it was successful.  Maybe you have some ideas to add to a Barter Party.



Please share your thoughts and comments on this topic below.  Do you have a caregiving question?  Ask Karen!

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.


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