By Dianne E. Butts:
It can be difficult to watch people we love, like our parents, age. We can feel helpless as we see their health deteriorate. For many, a time has come or is coming when we will need to begin acting as their caregivers. While becoming a caregiver certainly has it challenges, it’s possible caregivers might also be finding God while caring for aging parents.
According to the article “When You’re the Caregiver” in Woman’s Day.com, “an estimated 36 million U.S. households have at least one person who’s a caregiver, and 3 in 10 of them have been doing it for more than five years.”
While care-giving can be challenging, it can also be rewarding. In the same article, Leah Eskenazi, director of operations and planning for the Family Caregiver Alliance: National Center on Caregiving, said, “It can actually improve relationships with parents, create positive memories and foster peace of mind… The challenge is to maintain balance and not lose track of your own needs.”
While in His Ten Commandments God told us we need to honor our fathers and mothers (Exodus 20:12) honoring them does not mean we must sacrifice our health, marriage, or emotional well-being to care for them. It’s okay to ask for help. Some sources where you might find help are:
- Leading Age, an advocacy organization for aging adults and their caregivers: leadingage.org/
- Family Caregiver Alliance: National Center on Caregiving caregiver.org
- AgingCare.com agingcare.com which connects caregivers online for support
- Eldercare Locator eldercare.gov
- Visiting Nurse Associations of America vnaa.org
Jesus told us whenever we care for “the least of these” people (See Matthew 25: 31-46) it is as if we are caring for Him. As you care for your elderly mother or father, you may be the very hands of Christ taking care of them. And as you care for them, you may be surprised to discover that God does just the reverse: uses them to bless you as well, and teach you something more of Him. When this happens, you will know you’re finding God while caring for aging parents.
See this inspiring video on CBN on the “sandwich generation” and on getting help with elder care for loved ones.