- Hope poem by Doris Davis with comment
by daughter, Janelle Hastings
- 10 Signs of Alzheimer's
by Alzheimer's Association
- There will be a change
- Aging is All of Us
Responsibility Grandchildren Have for their Widowed Grandmothers
Care of the Elderly by David Padfield
Wives as Caregivers by Pat Gates
- Honoring Parents
in Their Old Age...What It Looks Like by Rick Liggin
in Aging - poem
- Patience Needed in Caregiving (response
to email) by Pat Gates
- A Little Chat With God
- #6 (personal plea) by Ruth Miller
Release the chains that bind me
To things that still surround me
The memories that tie me
To days that now have gone.
Return my eyes to heaven
Where stars still seem to beckon
Beyond the wide horizon
To brighter days tomorrow.
- Doris Davis
Had she lived, Doris Davis would have been 96.
She died in Lakeland, Florida. A better preacher's
wife, elder's wife, or Bible student would be difficult
to find. Striken with Alzheimers, she spent her last
days battling one of the hardest diseases I think
exists. She maintained her dignity and beautiful
godly disposition. We never heard an ugly word, or
God's name used in vain, come from her lips.
Doris Janelle Davis Hastings
KNOW THE 10 SIGNS
early detection matters
Have you noticed any of these warning signs?
list any concerns you have and take this sheet with you to the doctor.
Note: This list is for information only
and not a substitute for a consultation with a qualified professional.
____1. Memory changes that disrupt daily life. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s,
especially in the early stages, is forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events;
asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aides (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family
members for things they used to handle on their own. What's typical? Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering
____2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. Some people may experience changes in their
ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track
of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before. What's typical?
Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.
____3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure. People with Alzheimer’s
often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a
budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game. What’s typical? Occasionally needing help to use the settings
on a microwave or to record a television show.
____4. Confusion with time or place. People with Alzheimer's can lose track of dates, seasons
and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they
may forget where they are or how they got there. What's typical? Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it
____5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. For some people, having
vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer's. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast.
In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not recognize their own reflection.
What's typical? Vision changes related to cataracts.
____6. New problems with words in speaking or writing.
People with Alzheimer's may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation
and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the
right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a "watch" a "hand-clock"). What's typical?
Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
____7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. A person with Alzheimer’s
disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again.
Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time. What's typical? Misplacing things
from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control.
____8. Decreased or poor judgment. People with Alzheimer's may experience changes in judgment
or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers.
They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean. What's typical? Making a bad decision once in a while.
____9. Withdrawal from work or social activities. A person with Alzheimer's may start to remove
themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports
team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.
What's typical? Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.
____10. Changes in mood and personality. The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer's
can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work,
with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone. What's typical? Developing very specific ways of doing
things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.
If you have questions about any of these warning signs, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends
consulting a physician. Early diagnosis provides the best opportunities for treatment, support and future planning.
For more information, go to www.alz.org/10signs or call 877-IS IT ALZ (877.474.8259).
is an official publication of the Alzheimer’s Association but may be distributed by unaffiliated organizations or individuals.
Such distribution does not constitute an endorsement of these parties or their activities by the Alzheimer’s Association.
Copyright 2009 Alzheimer’s Association. All rights reserved.
“There will come a time when you believe everything
is finished. That will be the beginning.” ~ Louis L’Amour
Everything connected with your loved one’s care is going along smoothly, your care recipient’s needs
are all met and your caregiving “work” is finished. Then your loved one declines further via the aging process
or perhaps a health crisis. A new stage begins and a new start on your caregiving journey. The best thing to do as a caregiver
is to be prepared for change, because it is coming! What is the next possible step you may have to take as a family caregiver?
Have you thought about it, researched options, talked about it with your family or eldercare consult. www.tenderlovingeldercare.com
"The aging aren't only the old; the aging are all of us."
do you wish to be treated as you are aging? Do you think your parents hope for the same?
think you will be in a nursing home one day? What would you like from others? Is there anyone you know in a nursing home now?
What would they like?
GRANDCHILDREN HAVE FOR THEIR WIDOWED GRANDMOTHERS
Honor widows who are really widows. But if any widow has children or
grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their
parents; for this is good and acceptable before God. 1 Timothy 5:3-4
Did you ever notice grandchildren were commanded to repay their widowed grandmothers and show
them piety (respect)?
Are we teaching our children to be responsible
for their grandmother?
The Care Of The Elderly
by David Padfield
The Ten Commandments were
given by God at Mt. Sinai to govern His people (Exodus 20:1-17). These commandments are divided into two sections. The first four commandments deal
with one's relationship to God, while the last six deal with one's relationship to his fellow man.
In Exodus 20:12 we read, "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the
land which the Lord your God is giving you." R. L. Whiteside made the following comments on this verse: "This is
the first commandment with promise. The parent that is worthy the name seeks to preserve the health of his child and to keep
him out of unnecessary dangers and exposures. The thoughtful child knows that the parent knows best what is good for him.
One thing greatly lacking these days is a proper reverence for parents. Parents are greatly to blame, because they do not
train their children to respect their will and wishes. Obedience to authority must be learned, and if that is not learned
in the home, the child has a rocky road before him. If a child is not taught to respect the authority of parents, he is not
likely to respect any other authority. Such a child is a criminal in the making. This commandment is plainly and pointedly
set forth in the New Testament (Eph. 6:1,2)." (Bible Studies, Vol. 1, p. 204).
Most people think of "honoring father and mother" only in terms of a young child or teenager being obedient
to their parents. This is only part of the issue. In the New Testament, our Lord applied Exodus 20:12 to those who sought to escape the burden of caring for their aging parents (Mark 7:10-13). Apparently, children (some of whom were no doubt parents themselves) exempted themselves
from their obligation to "honor" their parents by declaring their money was "dedicated to the temple."
They did not actually give the money to the temple, but they intended to do so. They then claimed they did not have the ability
to financially care for their own parents. I have seen individuals pull the same scam in our day. Since the command to honor
one's parents is repeated in the New Testament (Ephesians 6:1,2), wouldn't those who seek to be relieved of this duty be just as guilty of sin as those
to whom Jesus spoke?
Greek law said children were morally and legally bound
to support their parents. Philo, a contemporary of our Lord, said, "When old storks become unable to fly, they remain
in their nests and are fed by their children, who go to endless exertions to provide their food because of their piety."
"As Aristotle saw it, a man must himself starve before he would see his parents starve.
Plato in The Laws has the same conviction of the debt that is owed to parents: 'Next comes the honor of loving parents, to
whom, as is meet, we have to pay the first and greatest and oldest of debts, considering that all which a man has belongs
to those who gave him birth and brought him up, and that he must do all that he can to minister to them; first, in his property;
secondly, in his person; and thirdly, in his soul; paying the debts due to them for their care and travail which they bestowed
upon him of old in the days of his infancy, and which he is now able to pay back to them, when they are old and in the extremity
of their need.'" (William Barclay, The Letters To Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, p. 107).
In 1 Timothy 5:3,4 we are commanded to "Honor widows who are really widows. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety
at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God." The word "repay" is translated
as "requite" in the King James Version. Edgar Goodspeed translated this verse as, "to return the care of those
who brought them up."
We live in a time when sacred duties are often
turned over to the state. Some Christians expect public charity to do what private piety ought to do. I have met children
who expected the church to support their parents even though they were capable of doing so themselves. Some churches are excusing
those who so sin and actually become a party to their sin by accepting the obligation in their stead. The New Testament still
says, "If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it
may relieve those who are really widows" (1 Timothy 5:16). The church is not to be charged with the care of aged saints when children are still
alive and capable of attending to their needs.
I know of Christians who
purchased nice houses and automobiles, and then expected the church to care for their parents. Such individuals should not
be coddled, but withdrawn from if they refuse to honor their moral and spiritual obligations to their parents.
You can just hear some of these ingrates crying, "But it would be too crowded for them
to stay at our house!" That might be true. Your parents' house was probably crowded when you were young too. Others claim
it would be too expensive to care for their parents. Your parents no doubt made sacrifices for you when you were in need many
years ago. Others bemoan the fact that they would not have any privacy if their parents came to stay. Well, you can ask your
own parents about that one.
"Repaying your parents" might mean
you living in a crowded house, driving an older model car and wearing faded clothes. Christians in the first century "sold
their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need" (Acts 2:45). If they could do this for those whom they barely knew, shouldn't children be willing
to do the same for their own parents? Children who neglect this obligation are worse than unbelievers (1 Timothy 5:8).
Taking care of an aged parent is
simply repaying the love they gave us in our time of need with love in their time of need.
Young Wives As Caregivers
THE MAIL: Does anyone have advice for a wife living with a husband who is living with chronic pain (due to
back surgeries and bulging disks, etc)? The more years this goes on, the more it weighs me down. I used to be so positive
and stress free...now, with 3 young children in tow, I find myself constantly torn between empathy and frustration.
Do I just have to accept it as is, or keep striving for answers to his pain? How do other wives handle this type of
Response from Pat: Thank you for
writing and sharing your thoughts and feelings. I didn't receive any answers for you, through the mail, but I do have a couple
of things to say to try and encourage you. First of all, the conflicting feelings you are experiencing are normal and, most
likely, will continue to be a part of your life. However, the frustration will lessen and become more managable over
time as you learn emotional and physcial ways of coping. I know you are a faithful Christian woman who wants to joyfully fulfill
your role as wife and mother, and even when the burdens of life seem so great, the joy can abound in that you know you are
serving the Lord when you serve your family. I hope to write more about this next month.
Your email brought up two topics I'd like to discuss: Young wives, as caregivers, and how to handle
those frustrating times that do come with caregiving. This month I addressed younger women as caregivers for their spouse.
Not everything I write about will apply to you and your situation as I'll try and address different personalities and experiences.
I would love any input from you or any of you who are reading this.
As far as accepting your husband's life with chronic pain, the anwer to your question is
"yes." Yes, accept the situation. Acceptance will help eliminate frustration and it can bring about a more contented
spirit. It sets your mind into the mode of how to live with the situation, rather than how to get out of it. Rather than looking
at that as a "give-up, give-in" conclusion, look at it as - this is our life now and I will learn the best way to
live with it. This helps bring peace and contentment, as well as adjustment.
The answer is also, "yes," to keep looking for answers, but within reason.
My son deals with ongoing back pain and while there is no answer for his pain other than medication and massage, we both
may do a search now and then on the internet to see if anything new has been discovered to lessen his pain.
My dear sister, I do feel for you and I know you and your husband have a burden
greater than any of us know. I appreciate your desire to have the right attitude and to handle life in the best way possible.
I hope this month's caregiver page will encourage you in some way.
I begin the article....
Interesting response I received in regards to
the above request: A friend suggested I get in touch with a Christian whose husband has the
same condition. She was described as, "Doing a fine job, even as they raise a young family, upbeat and so wants to be
of help in His kingdom." What my friend didn't realize was that the one she recommended to help, is the very
same woman who asked for help. And this makes several good points about caregivers:
- Stress affects everyone, even the strong in spirit.
- Be kind
and caring and helpful for the inner battles of those undergoing trials are more difficult than is shown outwardly.
- We need to allow our brothers and sisters, in Christ, to admit their feelings without misjudgment
that they are spiritually weak. Even the pillars of the congregation experience sadness and frustration at times and confessing
this shows humbleness and strength, rather than weakness.
- The feelings
expressed are normal for caregivers. It doesn't matter if you are caring for a spouse, parent, or a child, there
will be times of sadness and frustration, among other negative thoughts and emotions. These feelings are a result
of the combination of the weight of responsibility to take care of the family and the concern for the
loved one who has the health problems.
Younger Wives, As Caregivers
The following article comes from
Rick Liggin, who is known by many of our readers. It is an uplifting story about a family who is an excellent
example for those of us who are caring for our elderly loved ones. It appeared in www.thinkonthesethings.com and it touched my heart. I'm sure you will be encouraged, too.
Honoring Parents in Their
Old Age.... What it Looks Like
By Rick Liggin
By now, most of you will have probably already heard about the passing of Fred E.
Pollock on Friday, December 10, 2010 at the age of eighty-five. Fred was a well-known, well-respected, and deeply devoted disciple of Christ, who
spent his entire adult life in the service of our King. It was our privilege at the Paris Avenue church in Peoria, Illinois,
to have Fred and his beloved wife Fran living among us for the last few years of his life. We were able to watch this man
of moral courage and spiritual strength face down his last enemy, death, and gain the victory though Jesus Christ our Lord.
And let me tell you, as one who watched it personally, it was an inspiring thing to see.
My one regret for the church here is that we didn’t really get to know Fred before his
illness. You see, in 2008, when the Pollock’s daughter, Mary Ann Grant, with her husband Bill, moved the older couple
to live with them here in our area, Fred was already sick with Parkinson’s and Lewy Body disease. His motor skills were
already greatly diminished by his illness, and soon his cognitive abilities would be affected. That meant that we were only
able to know Fred as a man who was physically ill, and not as the extremely capable man he had been all of his life.
We didn’t get to know the man who was a chemical engineer with
Proctor and Gamble; or the man who served on the board of directors at both Florida College and Guardian of Truth Foundation;
or the man who was an elder for many years in at least two separate local churches. We didn’t get to know the man who,
together with his talented wife, taught marriage enrichment classes in congregations everywhere. I regret that this church
didn’t get to know that Fred Pollock…a man whose life of service was so apparent to all around him.
But this article isn’t really about what we didn’t get
to see at Paris Avenue. Instead, it is about what we did get to
see. And it’s not really so much about Fred Pollock and his sweet wife Mary Frances. It’s really about his daughter
Mary Ann Grant and her husband Bill (one of our elders), who showed us how to honor our parents…even in their old age.
The Bible clearly teaches us all to honor our parents (Ephesians 6:2; cf. Exodus 20:12), but what does that look like...especially
when our parents are old? Let me try to help you with that by pointing to what we witnessed at Paris Avenue. Please understand that
I do not want in any way to take away from how Fred and Fran’s other children and grand children honored their parents.
I just want to tell you about what we saw at Paris Avenue and how it stands as an example to all of us as
we help our parents in their old age.
It was amazing to watch Mary Ann and Bill as they served Fred and Fran. Always acting in Fred and Fran’s best
interest, Mary Ann and Bill did what ever it took to give their parents what they needed. At great personal expense, they
brought their old, sick parents into their own home to live with them and to provide their care (Mark 7:9-13). They sacrificed
so much…their social life, their finances, their energy, and their own health…just to do what was clearly a
labor of love. Kevin and Emmy, the Grants only two children left at home, also made sacrifices…especially in terms
of their parents’ time and attention; yet they did it without complaint.
Both at home and in public,
Mary Ann and Bill always treated Fred and Fran with the utmost dignity and respect. They were always tender, always loving,
and always patient…even when it must have been very hard to do so. I never heard Mary Ann or Bill speak a disrespectful
word to either Fred or Fran. Even when their mental capabilities and communication skills became severely inhibited, Mary
Ann and Bill were still kind, still patient, and still respectful. I can still hear Mary Ann sweetly speaking to her mother,
whose severe dementia keeps her in the same conversation over and over again; and I can still see her waiting ever so patiently
for her dad to say what was clearly on his mind but so far from his uncooperative tongue. And it was so sweet to see them
at church services, helping Fred and Fran to their seats, or with their coats, or with their song books. And it didn’t
matter what mishap may have occurred, there was no embarrassment or apology; just respect and dignity and kindness.
The day Fred died I was able to be there with
the family; and maybe one of the more respectful and loving things that I ever saw was how Mary Ann patiently helped her mother
understand that “daddy was gone.” Fran’s short term memory is so limited by her dementia that even taking
a short nap means she wakes up with little or no memory of what happened before. When the funeral home finally came to take
Fred’s body, Fran had been sleeping. She awoke with no memory of Fred’s death, and so wanted to know where he
was. I can still see Mary Ann as she crawled on to the bed beside her mother, and once again, holding her mother close, helped
Fran understand that “daddy was gone.” She spoke to her mother with the same kindness and compassion that she
had already used when her father first passed. It was heartbreaking on one hand; but on the other, it was so rich and so good.
I can only pray that our children will honor Candy and me with the same kind of respect and dignity.
We may grow up and our parents may grow older, but there will never
come a time when our duty to honor them will be relieved. Only when we have finally given them back to God will our responsibility
to honor and respect them be complete…and then, we must continue to honor their memory. Yes, those of us here at Paris Avenue may
have missed out on a valuable opportunity to witness the life of a great man who devotedly served the Lord. But I believe
that in the end, we gained an opportunity of equal value! We got to see what it really means to honor your father and mother.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
@ @ @
BLESSED IN AGING
@ @ @
are they who understand
My faltering step and
Blessed, who know my ears
Must strain to hear the things they say.
are those who seem to know
are dim and my mind is slow.
are those who look away
When I spilled tea that
Blessed are they who, with cheery smile
Stopped to chat for a little while.
are they who know the way
To bring back memories
Blessed are those who never say
"You've told that story twice today".
Blessed are they who make it known
I am loved, respected and not alone.
And blessed are they who will ease the days
Of my journey home, in loving ways.
author unknown ~
Patience Needed in Caregiving
"I just screamed and yelled at my mom. I am so
so frustrated. I hate feeling so angry. It's not her fault and it's not my fault either, but why do I feel so guilty.
Growing old sure isn't like it is in the movies. God, please continue to give me strength to get through this part of my life.
I know You make no mistakes and that I need to be appreciative and thankful and I am sorry for not having the patience to
handle this at times in not the right way. Amen!" -anonymous
Response from Pat:
you for your honesty. I know, from personal experience, caregiving can be very difficult at times and impatience is a very
real temptation. Even in the best of families the caregiver may experience feelings of being overwhelmed with not only all
the duties that come with caregiving but in the clashes of personalities or the difference in opinions between the caregiver
and the one receiving care. Sometimes the one we are caring for may be self-focused and not realize the needs of the caregiver
and may not express their gratitude, even though she/he may feel thankful for the care. Other times we may be caring
for one who is truly kind and gracious but she may be very open with her opinions that may clash with our own. And still others
care for loved ones who have Alzheimers or have had brain injury from a stroke and may have to endure extreme outburst of
Whatever the case, caregiving can bring us to the point of wanting to burst
out in anger towards the one we are caring for, however, even though I have been guilty of this myself, it is something we
must control and not allow in our lives. Here are some thoughts that may help you and other caregivers to cope. (Everything
on this list may not apply to every caregiver.)
GOD IS PLEASED:
Taking care of our parents is a commandment from God and He is well pleased with children who do. In fact, children who care
for their parents are admired by all. When times get tough, know your heavenly Father is looking down on you in love for giving
your life for another.
1Ti 5:4 But if any widow has children
or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God.
IT'S A TOUGH JOB: No matter how close you are to your parent, no matter
how good a person your parent is, caregiving is a difficult job, at times. For some, it's a difficult job all day long
when the parent requires constant attention. Many years ago I knew a good, faithful woman who would often say, "the devil
lives at our house." She wasn't referring to her mother as the devil, but she was describing how difficult the
situation was at home, in caring for her mother. Unfortunately, I don't know what the problem was, I was young,
inexperienced and didn't offer my help or listening ear.
One time I was in a restaurant
with my mom and I had to manuver her a good distance in and out of people and tables that were too close together.
She was using a walker at the time and it took a great deal of effort on her part to walk and a great deal
of effort on my part to get through the people, the waiters, and the tables. As we were walking a lady comes up to me and
very kindly tells me she knows how difficult my job is as she had been there, and she smiled so sweetly. This kind, understanding
response from a stranger helped me so much. No one knows how difficult caregiving can be unless they've been there so
let's all try and be a good listener and encourage those who may be having difficulty.
Pro 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
A GOOD SENSE OF HUMOR. With ongoing physical and emotional stress, caregivers may find themselves rarely smiling,
much less maintaining a good sense of humor. I didn't realize how little I was smiling during my caregiver days until I got
a little puppy. That little dog made me smile throughout the day (still does) and I felt my tension melting away.
Even my mom, who is far from being a dog lover, enjoyed watching the puppy play. My son got a puppy at the same time
and one day when he was visiting us, his little dog, in a split second, ran up my mom's recliner, kissed her on
the mouth and ran down again. We all had a good laugh. For some reason my mom attracts dogs and cats even when she
squeals if they rub against her - which they seem to always want to do!
If pets aren't
your thing, try and find something that you and your parent enjoy doing together and that which will bring a smile to
37:14 "Listen to this, O Job; Stand still and consider the
wondrous works of God." By looking at God's creation we understand some of the mind of God; because
what He created was "good" (Gen. 1) we know that laughter and a sense of humor is good. How can we look at
the antics of the young in the animal world and not smile or give a good belly laugh at them "fighting",
tripping, and stumbling. My 4 lb Chihuahua will greet the morning by running outside with her head and tail erect, looking
around, ready to face anything, be it large or small, that has the nerve to set foot on her property. I get my first
smile of the day from her very confused idea that she is as dangerous as that pit bull down the street. We look at human babies and toddlers and what a joy to see their smiles and hear the funny
things that come out of the 3 year old mouths. Humor is a wonderful creation of God and something that is an immediate antidepressant.
TAKE INSULTS TOO PERSONALLY. You are caring for a person who use to care for you and
has to adjust to parent/child roles now being switched. It's difficult for her to adapt to your ways. She may have her own
frustration and anger about having to be cared for and losing her independence. Some mothers become more blunt, with age,
and easily speak their mind - not to be hurtful (even if it does hurt) but perhaps to hang on to some sense of control. Perhaps
it all boils down to their personality and they have always been like they are and it's a matter of saying, "that's just
7:21-22 Also do not take to heart everything people say, Lest you hear your servant cursing you. For many times, also, your own heart has known That even you
have cursed others.
Feelings of guilt seen to go hand in hand with caregiving. The caregiver
gets physically and emotionally tired and longs for time alone and much needed rest and she begins to wish she had her old
life back. Then she thinks of how her parents cared for her and the situation they are now in with their health and she begins
to feel guilty for her thoughts. This is natural and there is no need to feel guilty for longing for rest... it's just fatigue
talking. If she didn't love her parent, she wouldn't be caring for her to begin with.
While feeling guilt for thoughts we may have during physical and mental fatigue in caregiving, we need
to also get a handle on these thoughts and not dwell on them. The problem is, having any type of negative thought continually
before us can drop us further into depression and perhaps bitterness. We need to help ourselves by trying our best to think
on better things and even irrational guilty feelings can guide us to more positive thinking.
in mind the one being cared for feels guilty as well. I've been in the positions of being a caregiver to parents and a child,
as well as being the one cared for during years of being practically bedridden. I've seen this issue from both sides. I've
had feelings of guilt as a caregiver and as the one being cared for. When bedridden, I felt so guilty for being such a burden
to my husband and family, knowing I shouldn't feel guilty and no one made me feel that way... it's just part of the normal
process that takes place.
Guilt that comes from losing impatience or a burst of anger
is a good peacemaker. If we have done wrong in a loss of self-control guilt will poke us to do what's right - apologize and
be more aware in the future.
Act 24:16 This being so, I myself always strive
to have a conscience without offense toward
God and men.
This is essential, as you know. If you didn't realize this you wouldn't have written. There was a time when I was asking God's
forgiveness every night for my lack of self-control when I was caring for my parents. At times I would be outwardly impatient
but, most of the time, it was inward. It was thoughts that I wasn't controlling very well and while I didn't allow these
thoughts to come out verbally I'm sure I wasn't acting as loving and kindly as I should have. We could excuse ourselves by saying
we can't help it or that we are only responding to our parent's lack of self-control but God never gives us an excuse
to have any sinful feelings or actions.
Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Luk 21:19 By your patience possess
CAREGIVING IS A PART OF LIFE: Because of families living apart and because we modern
Americans are so government program oriented we don't plan for caregiving to be a part of our lives and when it comes,
we are surprised by it. Other times we may plan for it but when it arrives, it is much more difficult than we realized and
we decide we don't want any part of it. Throughout time, caring for aged parents probably involved more family members due
to the families living and working together. In modern times, caregiving often falls on one child's shoulders because that
child either lives the closest to the parent or doesn't have a full time job. Whatever the case, caregiving should be expected
by all of us and planned for. And just like marriage and raising children it has times when it's easy and times when it's
difficult, but we all must learn how to be good caregivers just like we learn how to be good wives and mothers. Perhaps
this is a good topic to discuss in our ladies' classes and do teaching in this area to help train all women to be caregivers.
Eph 6:2 Honor thy father and mother.
PUT OURSELVES IN THEIR PLACE: One day most likely we will require a caregiver. How
will we want to be treated? What will our thoughts and feelings be?
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another;
love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;
OLD LADY?....NOT NECESSARILY! And what about caring for parents who are difficult to get along with?
Older people have their quirks and they may be very opinionated and feel free to release those opinions daily, throughout
the day. They may be selfish and not think of your needs. Some children may find themselves caring for a parent who had not
been a good parent to them and now they have to give the nurturing they themselves hadn't received. The negative feelings
that come from this has to be resolved and put aside as it can be a daily torment if kept in your heart. We have to say to
ourselves that they are the one at fault and we are not going to allow their wrongdoing to drag us down and tempt us to act
and think in a sinful manner. Their wrongs do not make it right for us to respond unkindly. While it may seem unfair, this
is just how it is in order to be pleasing to God.
God didn't create commands in order to confuse
us or to irritate us. His commands help us to live a more peaceful life. His laws are created from love and they not only
benefit ourselves but also the ones we come in contact with. Satan's recommendation of responding unkindly to those who mistreat
us only creates more stress within ourselves and does nothing to help change the situation for the better.
Rom 14:19 Therefore let us pursue the things which
make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
our difficulties to God and asking for wisdom and patience is very important in order to find strength to be a good caregiver.
God sees all. He knows the trials that come and He understands your stress. Share all your pain and confess your faults and
truly repent. Plead for help from the One who has the wisdom and power to provide.
1Pe 5:7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for
WORD OF GOD: Use God's word daily to strengthen you. Find relevant scriptures, copy
them into a booklet you can pick up and read when temptations of impatience come or tape a scripture on your wall in a place
where you will see it throughout the day.
Psa 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS:
(1) Caregivers have an opportunity to grow in their spiritual service to God (2) Caregiving is an act of love
(3) it can give a meaningful purpose to your life (4) You are being a good example to others (5) keep going and add your
5:11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that
the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
BE THANKFUL: Remember the years of care and concern your parent gave you. This isn't said
to create guilt, it's a good reminder I used myself when times got difficult - it helped to put life into perspective and
to be thankful for the opportunity to serve my parents in return.
Col 3:12-15 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave
you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace
of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
TALK TO AN UNDERSTANDING FRIEND: Confession is good for
the soul. You confessed to us and I appreciate it. I would recommend confessing your weaknesses to someone who has been
a caregiver or who is a good friend who understands your situation. I found myself telling some what a difficult situation
I was in and getting zero response. I had asked for help and still no response. Some didn't want to be involved and others
just don't understand how difficult daily life can be as a caregiver. Getting a negative response or no response can bring
more pain so choose carefully who you talk to.
Jas 5:16 Confess your trespasses to
one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
1Th 5:11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another,
just as you also are doing.
ENDURE IN LOVE: Love covers a multitude of sins. Godly love as described in 1 Corinthians
13 can prevent outbursts of anger. That chapter is our rule of daily living in our marriage, in parenting and in caregiving.
1Co 13:4-8 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does
not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in
iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures
all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
I wish for the best for you and your's.
I didn't always practice what I just recommended and if I was caregiving on a daily basis again, I would probably fail at
times. However, all God's commandments apply to us and we can't allow Satan to tempt us to excuse any sinful outburst. We
have to change our way of thinking and practice, practice, practice self-control.
My heart goes
out to you, knowing how difficult your life may be. Look for blessings in your lives together... they are there. And the ultimate
blessing is that you are given an opportunity to serve the Lord in your service to another. May God bless you with peace
and keep you and your loved one in His care.
Write again and let us know how it's going. Thanks
again for writing.
If all goes as planned, I may just do a followup article
addressing those who are being cared for and advice on ways they can help in bringing a more peaceful environment. Both the
caregiving and the one being cared for need to try their best (within their capabilities) to live together in harmony.
A Little Chat With God - #6
I know you are aware of the situation I am struggling with at this time because
you are an all-knowing God. And, because of this, I need to chat with you and seek guidance as well as ask you for endurance
and strength to do this task with love, patience, compassion and humility. I ask for strength to carry on the daily
activities that will be required of me. I ask that I can handle this situation in a way that it will not endanger my
own health. I ask that I not be tempted to not accept the responsibility that is placed upon my shoulders in this particular
situation. But then again, with regard to temptation, I also know that you will not put upon me more than I can bear
as you have stated in I Cor.10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as it common to man; but God is faithful,
who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that
you may be able to bear it.”
Life can take some very cruel turns, and at this
time, I feel I am in one of those turns. However, I will be the first to admit that these cruel turns in life, as I
call them, are strengtheners and help us build character . . . sometimes they jerk us back to reality from which we may have
strayed . . . sometimes they work at a catalyst to make us realize all of the wonderful blessings we have in you, instead
of pursuing more and more and more in life. I know that you are but a breath away and when I stumble, you are
there to pick me up and strengthen me. This knowledge and faith in you has kept me afloat so many times with other situations
in my past . . . and without this faith, I would be as a wanderer in the desert without direction.
We, as humans with such frail minds, cannot see or understand the wisdom of things
that often happen in this earthly realm. Sometimes life seems really harsh as it unfolds day after day. But I
know you do not send evil or pain . . . and, sometimes, a lot of our ills are coincident with the way we live our life.
For example, I know an alcoholic was not born in that state and a drug user made the choice to become such. I think
what I am trying to say here is that we all have choices to make and how we make decisions during our life is the ultimate
factor to how our life unfolds before us. You are so merciful to provide every human being on this earth with a free
will . . . the ability to choose right or wrong . . . that is always with us, but sometimes we get so involved with the “pleasures”
of earth that we make unwise decisions and then we ultimately have to face the consequences thereof. You do not “cause”
this; it is we, ourselves, individually, that have done this entirely on our own. And sometimes we do not want to own
up to the fact that we have caused our problems, sometimes we can’t accept what we are literally doing to ourselves
. . . but that is something called responsibility, and I will discuss with you at another time.
But for the real reason I am writing this to you today . . . you know Edith, my
mother-in-law, is so severely mentally challenged with Alzheimer’s disease. She has lived a hard but productive
life. She has been a child of yours for so many years, but now, she is suffering such a mental collapse with this devastating
disease that just goes into one’s mind and ravages it from one end to the other. I know you did not cause this
travesty. I realize all too well that there are occurrences in our life and the life of others that touch our lives
and we do not know why they happen, but they do happen. Sometimes things happen, and at that time, we think it is about
the worst situation we have ever been through, but we manage to get through it and then down the line, a little light seems
to come on in our own head and we do see how that “worst” thing in our life was, in retrospect, one of the best
things for us. I firmly believe that for everything that does happen during our life here on earth, there is a reason,
hidden or otherwise. But again, that is just me.
In your infinite wisdom and mercy, it may be that
while I am enduring this situation which has been put upon me, that I will be made more humble in your sight; I may learn
more patience and compassion for the ill or it may be meant for me to learn humility to a higher level. And if this
be the case, you, in essence, are building my character towards a godly one to make me a better soul in your sight.
You are strengthening me in the ways you want me to go; you are teaching me your ways.
My daily prayer will be that you sustain me in all of these qualities: patience,
endurance, attitude, compassion, humility and love. I will be calling on you to build me up to a higher level in these
categories on most days. I will probably ask you to reduce my sense of smell when she has a bad accident in her bed
so that I may be able to handle such without embarrassing either of us. Only you know how weak a stomach I have for
these incidents in life. I pray that when she is sick and I have to tend to her needs that I can do this without making
I will be asking of you to infuse upon my heart
the quality of patience, as I know I will need this on a much higher plane than I have ever had previously. Having been
a caregiver for 25 years, I too am getting weary of these challenges, and my patience is wearing very thin. I find myself
some days wanting to get away from this responsibility, I find myself wanting to do as others my age have been doing and enjoying
life with time to myself and time for just the two of us, my husband and me, to travel or just to sit quietly and read
a book without interruption. But then I put myself to shame as I know the people I care for are in much worse shape
than I am and they need someone to care for them. And I too know that someday I may be in such a situation and I would
want someone to care for me. This thought puts my focus right back where it should be.
Strengthen my weak body that I may be able to lift her when this is needed, physically,
mentally and spiritually. With her mind in such a ravaged state, there will be times I must just remain silent and listen
. . . smile or simply touch her hand. There will be times I will have to take what she says and let it be tossed to
the wind and know she is not the Edith I have had for a mother-in-law for so many years; and, I understand that from now on,
when she says unseemingly rude things to me, or yells at me, that this is not my Edith speaking. I know that when she
is in a highly agitated state and perhaps would like to take a swing at me, that this is not my Edith. Give me an abundance
of understanding into her life as it is at this time so that I can ease her diminishment of life.
I know I have really talked your ear off today but I just have to let you know
that I am very concerned about this situation which has so suddenly developed into a full-blown, day and night, care giving
responsibility. I want to do what is right for both her and me, because I know I have to remain healthy to keep her
in the best possible care until you take her home to live with you. And again, as I have requested of you so many times, please
take her peacefully in her sleep so that she will not know the sting of death. Take her soon Heavenly Father, if it be your
will, so she does not have a lucid moment to fully realize the extent of her illness, as she would be so devastated if she
were in her right mind and realized the form her life is taking at this time.
Her doctor has stressed to me on several occasions, his concern for me in taking
on such a tremendous responsibility, now that she has full-blown Alzheimer’s disease, with all the “amenities”
that come with this. However, I have taken care of her for the past seven years, just not under such dire circumstances.
I know without a scintilla of a doubt, that with your help, you will see me through this chapter of my life unscathed.
I additionally know that you will guide me with the necessary wisdom and understanding to be able to make the appropriate
decision, should I get to the point that I can no longer handle her care without endangerment to either her or myself, and
you will allow me the ability to take leave of my duties without sorrow or without guilt, to place her under the care
of others who can provide where I could not.
Again, I realize that I have taken a big chunk of
your time today and I understand I have burdened you with a load of care . . . but I know you hear my pleas and you
will provide appropriately. For that I am so grateful. Thank you for listening to my plea. Until the next
time . . .
Written by Ruth Miller
immediately prior to
Edith’s hospital discharge
© June 25, 2011
NOTE FROM PAT: Thank you, Ruth.
Many of us who have been or are caregivers can identify with what you are saying. I appreciate your trust in God and desire
to find strength in Him.
A comforting blessing is that we can talk and talk
and talk to our heavenly Father and He never is burdened or weary of our dependence on Him. It is only when we try and handle
all our burdens on our own when He grows weary... weary of our self-reliance without coming to Him in humble submission.
I appreciate your love for others and always giving of yourself. Thank you for
the kind and encouraging notes to send to all of us at Our Hope.