Creating Your Family's Circle of Support
First off - please join TCC Forums to start finding parent-caregivers like yourself to connect to and share support, ideas, questions, life stories, and daily life with. To begin, you can also ask a question or make a comment to Lynn Morgan Rosser in the "Ask Lynn" section. Help TCC's community grow!
An "Exceptional Circle" or "Circle of Support" is an essential part of surviving crisis and long-term 24/7/365 caregiving. Too often, people stand by feeling helpless - wanting to step in and bring a meal or drive you to an appointment, but don't know what you need, when you need it, or whether or not it would even be a welcome offer should they try. Having a group of people around you who are concerned and caring, who are there to share the load and offer help when it's most needed, can make a huge difference in your life and in the lives of your whole family.
CREATING YOUR EXCEPTIONAL CIRCLE OF SUPPORT
Set up your circle online with this amazing FREE service that makes creating and maintaining your Exceptional Circle a breeze! This site is the best resource we have found for creating helping communities and is perfect for parent-caregivers.
Just like our TCC site, there are no annoying pop-up ads at Lotsa Helping Hands or advertisement inserts, and your information is kept completely private. We are proud to partner with this organization, so please give yourself the gift of an Exceptional Circle through this easy-to-use and wonderfully featured service. As soon as you set up your initial list and information, the service takes on the work of contacting people, sending out reminders and more.
It's as easy as 1-2-3:
1. Invite members to your circle;
2. Set up volunteer tasks;
3. Create community!
Note: Now Available! The Complete Caregiver Journal Workbook has a space for creating your Exceptional Circle list, a great process for brainstorming and prioritizing your Caregiver-Needs and keeping track of them, problem-solving, and much much more.
THINGS YOU WILL NEED:
q A place to write down email addresses (like the TCC Journal Workbook) when people in your community offer help to your family.
q Internet access OR have someone else with internet access be your main contact / coordinator and ask them to set up your circle for you.
1) Generate your list of potential volunteers.
Family, friends and your community are great places to start. If you have a Case Manager and a Service Provider, you can ask them if they would like to be included, so they can check in and see what you need as well. One of the first things you might do is request a close friend or family member who is computer savvy to help you manage your Circle!
2) Go to www.TCC.lotsahelpinghands.com and create your circle with their simple 1-2-3 instructions.
Lotsa Helping Hands makes everything easy!
If you choose not to use this service, you will need to create an email list or use your social networking site (warning - this can be very public and give information about your family to people you do not want to include) to begin your process and send out an initial request to see if people want to be in your circle. You will then need to create and maintain the list of needs, a calendar, offers of assistance, phone calls, etc. on your own - this is a lot of work! Again - we recommend you let Lotsa Helping Hands take on some of that work for you!
3) Once you have your list of volunteers, keep in contact.
Give them updates regularly on how your child and your family are doing, and update your list of current needs. (If you are in a crisis at the hospital, send them more often, like every day or every few days or if something important happens. If things are stable, you may want to send it less often, like once a month.) Include photos when you can to personalize it. You can use the Lotsa Helping Hands message board within your private group for this.
4) Always thank anyone who helps you and your family! If possible, let them know personally how much you appreciate them. A quick email is just fine (everyone knows you are really busy) - or send an e-card. A Thank You on the message board is also a great way to let them know how much you appreciate their help!
Optional - Consider making some “Exceptional Circle” or “Team” items, like buttons with your child’s photo on them, or, if you can afford it, T-Shirts. You can give them out as gifts to your Circle, or ask them if they’d like to order them at cost. Only do this if you know your friends and family are into advertising your team! This is especially good if some friends or family members are holding a fundraiser for your family or want to participate as individuals or as a team in a walk for your child’s disability (i.e. The Autism Society 5K, or the Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation Walk, etc.).
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