Monday, September 16, 2013

Caregiving 101: "A Vital Thing for the Personal Caregiver"

     Throughout this journey, Mom has been getting more and more frail, but has not had pain.  Unfortunately, she has recently developed severe back pain.  This pain was sudden in it's onset and prevents her from doing most everything for herself.  In addition to this, my first-hand helper, my husband, fell and broke 5 ribs. 

     For the past 10 days, they both have needed help getting out of bed, help in the bathroom, help bathing, help getting seated in a chair and getting up.  And the bathroom help is around the clock.

     The demands on me have increased significantly.  While I feel that I am juggling everything well enough, I realized that I am neglecting the most important thing that I need:  my time with the Lord and being in His Word.  I know this neglect effects me adversely because of the change in my attitude and my impatience when both of my loved ones need me at the same time. 

     It's easy to neglect this most vital element of caregiving.  While the immediate demands scream loud for attention, the spiritual needs of the caregiver and the one being cared for are left undone because the Lord's voice is quiet and too often lost in the clamor. 

     But the Lord is kind, patient, and loving and He provides a way if we look for it.  We all need that spiritual "refueling" for ourselves, especially the caregiver.  And as vital as medication and food for the care-receiver, they need that spiritual feeding too. 

To help restore the spiritual, I have found:

1.  Reading the Bible to Mom after she gets comfortably in bed and praying with her helps both of us to look up and remember the promises of God. 

2.  That getting both of my loved ones comfortable and taking just a few minutes in a quite place by myself alone before the Lord is refreshing and calming.  There will be time for the longer periods of prayer and meditation after the pain issues are resolved, so for now short times as often as possible are very, very good.

3.  That taking a moment to take a deep breath and whisper a silent prayer for help to the Lord before responding prevents a harsh reply.  As the Bible says, "A gentle word turneth away wrath."

4.  That physical pain is real, demanding, and overwhelming, so I need to remember that and not be impatient. 

5.  That I am not alone in this journey, for the Lord said that He would never leave us nor forsake us. 

6.  That I am loved and blessed.

     Caregiver, remember that you are vital, necessary, and doing a good job regardless of what your emotions are telling you.  Stay on your knees, and keep looking up - the Lord will guide you.


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