Caring for a loved one undergoing physical and/or mental health challenges can be draining, even grueling, for those most closely involved. It is an opportunity for extended family members, friends, and church families to come together to support and encourage the struggling individual and the caregivers most impacted. Caregiving situations can range from dealing with acute, crises to dealing with the slow decline of degenerative conditions. Below are a few examples:
- Young parents caring for a preemie baby who has had an extended stay at the hospital.
- A wife seeking to help her 75-year-old husband manage his diabetes, weight, exercise, diet, medications, and keeping his appointments with various healthcare practitioners.
- Adult children (i.e., the sandwich generation) who are helping care for a widowed, aging parent while at the same time raising their own grade school to high school-aged children.
- A husband caring for his wife who now barely recognizes him because of dementia.
- A family trying to surround a family member who is going through extensive chemotherapy treatments after a recurrence of cancer.
- A wife and children trying to adjust after the husband, the family breadwinner, has become disabled due to a degenerative condition or accident.
- A family trying to decide when to call hospice and whether a family member can be kept at home or needs to be in a nursing home or hospice center.
The tendency for many caregivers is to live life as a “sprint,” often burning candles at both ends feeling like they are barely able keep up with the tasks before them. However, it is essential for many caregivers to adjust their caregiving model to one of “long-distance running” in order to integrate taking better care of themselves. That is, to be an effective caregiver, good personal stewardship of their own body, mind, and spirit is extremely important.
For Further Information:
Caregiver Stress and Burnout
The demands of caregiving can be overwhelming, especially if you feel you have little control over the situation or you’re in over your head. If the stress of caregiving is left unchecked, it can take a toll on your health, relationships, and state of mind—eventually leading to burnout. [HelpGuide.org]
CaringBridge allows users to quickly and easily create personalized web sites that help friends and family to stay in touch during significant life events. Users can display journal entries and photographs. Well-wishers visit the site to read updates and leave messages in the Guestbook.
This article provides additional resources and books to help caregivers.
How to Care for Aging Parents
This book and associated website is an excellent resource for those whose parents are aging and facing difficult decisions. The associated website (https://careforagingparents.com/) has a downloadable “Caregiver’s Organizer,” with helpful worksheets.
Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade: The 5 Love Languages and the Alzheimer’s Journey
Authors: Debbie Barr, Edward Shaw, and Gary Chapman
This 240-page book provides readers with practical steps for the caregivers and care receivers to cultivate an emotional connection amid memory loss.