Gransnet forums


Do you offer help or give it?

(63 Posts)
kittylester Thu 09-Mar-23 09:12:18

There have been a couple of threads about people needing more help, mostly when they or their partners have health issues.

I'm an offerer as I don't like to presume what the person might need.

But, before a good friend came home from hospital after a long stay, another friend went round and cleaned from top to bottom - changing beds too. My friend's husband was a bit discombobulated.

My contribution was to keep in touch and keep offering.

On the Carers' courses that I help run, we emphasise that people should take up offers of help.

But what do you do?

Which would you prefer?

GagaJo Thu 09-Mar-23 09:16:41

I took up an offer of help when I was on chemo. Some cooked food from a friend. I offer help but my reach is limited because I spend my whole life helping family.

Marydoll Thu 09-Mar-23 09:22:59

I am an offerer. However, my colleagues to complain that I was killing them with kindess! blush

However, I am very bad at refusing offers of help. sad

Shinamae Thu 09-Mar-23 09:23:56

Please send the house cleaning good friend, my way….. 😁personally, think it was a lovely thing to do

Redhead56 Thu 09-Mar-23 09:30:45

I will offer help willingly and have done so on many occasions. I have taken on too much in the past but I do like to help it’s natural to me. Some people won’t ask for help and it’s difficult to persuade them to accept help. Just being an ear to listen to worries is my approach just be there for support.

shysal Thu 09-Mar-23 09:40:30

I do offer help, tending to suggest jobs rather than 'is there anything I can do', but I wouldn't dream of muscling in and doing anything not asked for! For instance, my 92 year old neighbour has been very poorly and weak with shingles, so I have offered bed changing, laundry, cooking, driving to GP, shopping etc. She is usually very independent but is now comfortable with requesting these things.

I am also fiercely independent and can be very difficult to help! The only help I would seek if ill or hospitalized would be cat care. I have a printed instruction sheet with the supply of their food and medication just in case!

kittylester Thu 09-Mar-23 10:08:44

I would be horrified if someone came in and cleaned my house top to bottom like my friend's other friend did.

My friend would never be disloyal enough to say what she felt but I imagine she was quite taken aback.

Kate1949 Thu 09-Mar-23 10:09:52

I would hate someone to come in and clean my house. My sister's friend came to water her plants while she was on holiday once. When she came back her friend had done her ironing, putting it away in wardrobes. Very intrusive.

lixy Thu 09-Mar-23 10:21:41

Depends on who it is.
I just help at the various family houses as they do here - if the dishwasher needs emptying it doesn't really matter who does it. We have stayed at AC houses while they have been away on holiday and I have cleaned then but wouldn't on a day-to-day visit.

With friends and neighbours I'm more of an offerer along the lines of 'I'm going to Sainsbury's on Friday morning. Can I get you anything?' Or 'I'll be cutting the grass tomorrow, shall I do yours while the mower is out?' I find specific offers tend to be taken up more than vague ones.

NotSpaghetti Thu 09-Mar-23 10:25:51

Cleaming someone's house and doing the ironing is in whole different league to emptying the dishwasher!
The cleaning/bed changing and so on smacks of rude and invasive.

GagaJo Thu 09-Mar-23 10:44:27


I would be horrified if someone came in and cleaned my house top to bottom like my friend's other friend did.

My friend would never be disloyal enough to say what she felt but I imagine she was quite taken aback.

I'd love it. Sick or well. Anyone that feels they want to do this is very welcome.

Wyllow3 Thu 09-Mar-23 10:49:56

I'd love it, but I live alone, there is no one who could get upset like a partner..

Very case by case, isn't it?

So in different situations, different approaches?

timetogo2016 Thu 09-Mar-23 10:54:54

I offer,you can`t step on peoples feet that way.

timetogo2016 Thu 09-Mar-23 10:59:30

Or toes even.tut

sodapop Thu 09-Mar-23 13:05:33

Often though people are reluctant to say they need help in certain areas. I think when offering help you could specify things like cleaning, shopping, bed changing etc. Otherwise it just becomes something to say but not really meant. When I fractured my pelvis I was so grateful to the friend who came and changed my bed and cleaned the bathroom.

Rileysnana Sun 12-Mar-23 11:25:01

I'm good at giving help but cannot take it. My son always wants to do things for me but I rarely take him up on it. I don't want to encroach on his time with his family. Also, when I split up from my ex I vowed not to depend on anyone again. It could be my downfall in years to come as my pride won't let me ask for help.

pandapatch Sun 12-Mar-23 11:41:22

I would be horrified if anyone cleaned my house without asking!! I offer help and agree specific offers are the way to go, otherwise people aren't sure if you really mean it and often don't like to say what they actually need help with.

HeavenLeigh Sun 12-Mar-23 11:43:32

I’m definitely a helper, but very respectful of how others might see it, there’s no way I’d clean someone’s house top to bottom, but I’d shop for them , changing beds. Vacuum etc, I think going in to someone’s home and cleaning it from top to bottom is very much Ott, I don’t really ask for help myself, if I’ve ever needed it I have husband that would do it, so I’m lucky like that,

grannyactivist Sun 12-Mar-23 11:53:11

I support a man who has a learning disability and to be honest I treat him as if he’s a younger son. In some circumstances I offer help, but in others I just do what needs to be done. Last year I offered to take him on his first ever holiday, which he accepted. Recently I noticed he had a problem with his internet so I just arranged for a BT engineer to fix it.

One man I supported for 25 years was fiercely independent and any help offered was purely on his terms. He died at the end of last year and it was only as he was dying that I had to be more forthright in doing what was needed. He wanted to die at home and stay out of hospital so I had to persuade him to let me help him to achieve that. It was very hard for me to insist he had to accept my help - and then he came to a position where he would only accept help from me and not from the Hospice nurses. It was a traumatic time.

My health has been very poor for the past couple of years, so I now have a friend who comes in to clean for me (I pay her well) and family members are very good at offering help too.

JaneJudge Sun 12-Mar-23 11:54:38

I will offer help but there is a limit to what I can do as I work full time and still have family living at home.

I hate people helping me blush

GoldenAge Sun 12-Mar-23 11:59:35

Offering as opposed to actually doing something unasked is a cultural and sub-cultural phenomenon I think. We have a summer house in a southern Mediterranean country and a couple of weeks after I lost my Mum who had lived with us for 12 years as she had been deteriorating, I went with my husband to the house to retreat for two weeks. As soon as our neighbours knew we were arriving, we had food on the doorstep every morning (fresh bread, honey, fruit etc)., and every evening (stews, stuffed peppers, etc). This was totally cultural, the same is done for a woman after giving birth or a stay in hospital, and that extends into coming into the house and cleaning, taking away washing and returning with it clean. Personally, I was grateful for the care and love that this kind of unasked-for help signalled to me.

Interestingly when husband and myself had covid at the start of the pandemic, I found carrier bags twice on my front door step with shop-bought sourdough bread, and home-made produce. Again this was a level of help for which I was very appreciative.

Personally, I do both - I offer and also give but the giving stops at food at the front door.

icanhandthemback Sun 12-Mar-23 12:44:39

I am an offerer of help but I won't keep pushing. I tell people to always ask as long as they don't mind me saying no if circumstances don't allow it. That said, I will move mountains to help rather than refuse.
When my friend's partner died from cancer, her other friends rallied round with cooking stuff for the freezer, I was more likely to go get prescriptions and help her navigate the system to get help. I worried that I wasn't being a good enough friend but to be honest, cooking meals never entered my head.

grandtanteJE65 Sun 12-Mar-23 12:59:08

Cleaning the entire house for someone who is ill is kindly meant, but judging from the post the helper didn't ask if the unwell person wanted her house cleaned!

I would be considerably annoyed if anyone presumed to clean my house, unasked. It's not that dirty or untidy!

When I offer to help and my offer is accepted, I ask what the person I am helping needs help with and do that, and usually only that.

If I can see that something needs to be done, say the bathroom cleaned, or the cat's litter tray emptied, I mention it, saying I don't mind doing it, and do it if this offer is accepted. Otherwise, I would leave the bathroom strictly alone, and only clean the poor cat's tray sufficiently for her to want to use it!

If I accept help, I ask the helper what I can do for her in exchange, if there isn't anything, then I invite her to lunch as a thank you.

HousePlantQueen Sun 12-Mar-23 13:01:19

Interesting thread. My late DM was never shy about asking neighbours for help with her bins or for a lift to the pharmacy etc., At her funeral, I 'apologised' to said neighbours for these requests and all of them said they were happy that DM asked, it saved them wondering if she needed help, or worrying about offending her by asking if she needed anything. They knew that if she didn't ask it was because she didn't need help, not because she was being independent or afraid/embarrassed to ask.

annsixty Sun 12-Mar-23 13:10:52

I am very independent and try always to manage.
I very rarely ask for help but would like to be asked by my neighbours.
One day last week I wished my neighbour a happy new year as it was the first time I have seen her for months.
The neighbour the other side occasionally put my bins back at the side of the house but they stay out until my GD comes home from work mostly.
When I was first married and working I had put washing out and it rained, my then neighbour not only fetched it in but ironed it all.
I was horrified and never left washing out again whilst out.
That to me was a step too far.