The ABC’s for Caregivers

How to find spiritual and emotional rewards from a demanding and sometimes overwhelming task

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Posted in , Feb 23, 2016

Advice and comfort for stressed out caregivers.

Shelly Beach, author of Guideposts’ newest booklet, Strength for Helping Hearts, wrote:

“I didn’t know what to do or where to start when my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and my father-in-law with Parkinson’s disease. At the time, I was facing my own health crisis, and my two adult kids had returned home with serious health struggles. For a few years I thought I might go crazy trying to balance the multiple priorities of working, recuperating and caring for my kids, husband and father-in-law in my home, as well as for my parents several states away. All caregivers share this sense of frustration; we lack time, resources and energy.”

The role of a caregiver can be demanding, isolating and overwhelming at times, but may also provide spiritual and emotional rewards. As a pastor, I have seen the physical and mental toll that caregivers undergo. When people come for pastoral care seeking counsel, I offer this simple advice:

  • Ask for help.
    You can’t do everything on your own. Humanly speaking, it’s impossible to offer care 24/7 without burning out. Unless you seek help, you deplete yourself. Get help from within and outside the medical field. Pray to God to give you wisdom and strength as you carry out the task. The Lord is our refuge and fortress.
     
  • Balance your priorities.
    Everything you do in life requires time. In most cases, caregivers spend the majority of their time taking care of others. Without the proper balance, your life can and will unravel. Stop and seek guidance, decide what needs to be done now and what can wait or be passed on to others.
     
  • Connect with a community.
    You were not created to be isolated. You need to belong to a community you trust to support, encourage and pray with you. It can be your church. A formal or informal group will offer life outside of the demands of everyday caregiving.

The booklet, Strength for Helping Hearts: Reflections for Caregivers, offers 31 reflections and resources for caregivers. For a free copy, email us at outreach@guideposts.org. Do you have any advice to share with caregivers? Please share with us.

Lord, give strength and support to caregivers and surround them with a caring and loving community.

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