Sunday, February 22, 2009

THE PROJECT GIFT BOX - Organizing yourself and friends to help with caregiving.

Asking for help is a very difficult task. I'm not certain why, but I suspect it is because we, as Americans, are such rugged individualists....we just don't need any help. As mentioned in previous postings, I am a true believer that it takes a village to care for an ALS patient. I was discussing this with some friends recently and came up with a possible solution - a way to turn the "gift" of time and service into something that we can intellectually accept with grace. When you think about it, if someone you cared about took the time to wrap up a small gift and gave it to you, you wouldn't turn it down. You would thank them immediately, unwrap it, oohh and aahh, and then probably send a thank you note. Here are suggestions for creating your own "Project Gift Box".

  • Find a box with a lid

  • Go all out and decorate it to your hearts desire! Wrap the box and the lid separately.

  • Find 4 - 5 different colors of paper - Medium sized PostIt squares are the perfect size!

  • Colors correspond the the amount of time which can be donated for any given offer (i.e. 15 - 30 min., 30 - 60 min., 1 -2 hours, 3+ hours)

  • Tape one slip of each color with the time allotment to the inside of the lid (to help you remember!)

  • Think about the projects around your household that can be shared/delegated (see suggestions below)

  • Jot each project onto a colored slip of paper and add it to the decorated box.

  • When someone asks "What can I do to help you?", ask them how much time they have to "gift you" and then ask them to pull out a colored slip from your gift box.
There are chores that only you can do. But the list of chores to be done (and it doesn't really matter by whom!) is endless and limited only by your imagination and willingness to let your friends and family help you. Trust me...friends will truly be grateful for the opportunity to help with your caregiving responsibilities. Here are some distinct project ideas to get you started. Share your ideas and successes by responding to this post!

  • change the bed linens

  • fold clean laundry

  • assemble a grocery list (look in the cupboards and learn the specific brands you prefer)

  • go grocery shopping

  • put away groceries

  • pull weeds

  • read to a patient or a restless toddler

  • help with homework

  • walk the dog(s)

  • clean the catbox, hamster cage, rabbit hutch, bird cage, goldfish bowl, etc.

  • empty the diswasher

  • clean the toilet(s)

  • mow the lawn

  • take the car to the carwash

  • follow you to the dealership/repair shop for auto servicing

  • drop off a bank deposit

  • plant flowers/veggies

  • clean the pool

  • run the vacuumn

  • rake leaves

  • clean gutters

  • carpool kids to school, soccer, dance lessons, etc.

  • collect the trash/recycling

  • pick up a prescription, dry cleaning

  • return library books, video rentals

  • shovel snow

  • hose off window screens

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