How to Ask for Help: The Patient’s Guide to Managing Caregivers

Hello! If you are reading this, you are likely facing a hospital or hospice stay and may be feeling powerless to ask for the quality of care you know you deserve. Are you afraid of being seen as “high maintenance’, a pest, self-centered, demanding, needy or a whiner?

You are not alone. Many people endure kinds of inconveniences, discomforts, injustices and live lives of quiet desperation and resignation because they fear the judgments of others if they speak up for their needs and desires.

I was once a shy and fearful person who simply went along with whatever others were doing and never asked others for their cooperation in fulfilling my needs.

I have been fortunate enough to come across some teachers who shared some tips on having other people enthusiastically do what I requested or invited them to do. In this article, I will share these powerful tips. They may seem simple and obvious, but as you consciously begin integrating them into your life, you will notice and enjoy a marked the difference in the way people respond to you.

You may also begin to notice that when you leave one of these elements out, the result will not be as desirable. You will soon master the art of asking by noticing how you are “being”, when people say, “Yes”, and when they say, “No.”

Here are the 7 Tips:

Tip #1. Before asking for help, ask to ask. People are busy and their attention is not on you and your concerns. Ask them for a moment of their time and attention to consider a request you have. This respects their time and attention and lets them know you understand that it is a gift they are giving you and that you appreciate it. This begins to establish a sense of warmth and connection, so that your request is more likely to be received and fulfilled.

Tip #2 Once you have their attention, thank them for taking a moment to talk with you.

Let them know that you genuinely appreciate some quality of their character or the way the two of you relate. This will deepen your connection.

Tip #3 Communicate as an equal soul. Have you noticed how irritating it can be when someone asks you for something and they are apologetic or whining, begging or overly respectful?

On the other hand, have you noticed how infuriating it is when someone orders you about in a disrespectful, demanding and condescending tone? Effective communication occurs between equals. When you appreciate yourself and appreciate the other person, your request lands cleanly, without emotional reaction.

Tip #4 Ask the person who can fulfill the request, or who may be able to find someone to fulfill the request. Be specific about what you are requesting, so it is easy for the other person to imagine what it would be like to complete the action you are requesting successfully.

i.e. Would you puff up the pillow and place it under my neck?

Tip #5 Put the offer on the table between you. What I mean by this is… Consider that the offer is not YOUR offer or request. It is THE offer or request that you are energetically putting in between the two of you for consideration, without attachment to the outcome. When the person you are asking senses that they are free to examine the time, attention and resources it will take them to fulfill your request in light of their own goals and values and that you will not take a “No” personally, they will more likely find a way to say, “Yes”.

Tip #6 People want to say, “Yes!” Right now, say, “Yes”, and then say, “No”. Notice how your body feels when you say, “Yes!”, … and how it feels when you say, “No”. Do you notice any opening and relaxing feelings as you say, “Yes!”? …any contraction or closing when you say, “No”? Our reflex is to say, “Yes!” , and to move toward the pleasure of connection and relating that agreement brings.

People usually want to say “Yes!” …AND…they have reservations or concerns that stop them from immediately promising to do whatever is requested. It’s not because they don’t like you or don’t want to help. They were simply headed in a different direction and had already prioritized their time, attention and money. In order to say “Yes!” , they most likely have to re-arrange their life to join your team. They may hesitate as they begin to get creative about adopting your priorities. Be silent after you ask while they sort this out.

Tip #7 Next to , Please”, “Thank you.” is one of the most powerful expressions we have. Thank the person for their help. Don’t you feel fulfilled when you have done something for someone and they genuinely and specifically express appreciation? People will remember your appreciation, or lack of appreciation, the next time you ask.

OK, let’s review the 7 tips:

1. Ask to ask.

2. Appreciate the person and your relationship.

3. Ask as an equal.

4. Give clear direction.

5. Put the offer on the table.

6. Know that people instinctively want to help….and they may have to take a moment to find a way to say “Yes”.

7. Say , “Thank you!” enthusiastically and from the heart.

Congratulations on taking a leading role in your healing process. These tips will support you in receiving the quality of care you need for rapid recovery.

Author's Bio: 

Naomi Colb has been a student of self-care and personal growth for 40 years. She currently enjoys helping people who are facing health challenges to learn simple, easy behaviors that dramatically and quickly increase the quality of their lives.
Naomi offers holistic lifestyle coaching by phone, facilitates trainings and tele-seminars, writes articles and e-books on all aspects of living a satisfying life and leaving your legacy.