Thursday, October 24, 2013

Caregiving 101: Respect and Honor - Prelude

Caregiving 101:  Respect and Honor - Prelude
     Caring for a loved one involves a great deal of, well, surrender.  And when caring for a parent, the role reversal can be very trying.  The parent will always be the parent, and the child will always be the child, even when the parent is needing the care normally given to a child.

     In these times, it can be hard to give the proper respect and honor that is needed.  But it is still necessary to do so.

     The Bible says that we are to honor our father and mother.  The Lord did not say to honor them if they are honorable, but to honor them.  Sometimes it is honoring the position they hold, not the behavior they exhibit.
     Today a friend shared the above photo with me and it moved me deeply.  It also reminded me of the following story that I had saved several years ago.  The story is reported as being true.  But even if it isn't, it is great material for thought.  I share it here as a prelude to our sharing on respect and honor.

     Caregiver, please remember that we, too, may be the care-receiver one day.  Stay on your knees, and keep looking up.


Poem Left Behind by a Deceased Man

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. One nurse took her copy to Melbourne. The old man's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem. And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this 'anonymous' poem winging across the Internet.

 Cranky Old Man

What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you're looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . ... . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .'I do wish you'd try!'
Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . ... lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you're not looking at me.
I'll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will

.I'm a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he'll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.

At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don't mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. ...Babies play 'round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future ... . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.

And I think of the years . . . And the love that I've known.
I'm now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.
It's jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.
And I'm loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. .... . ME!!

 Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all, one day, be there, too! PLEASE SHARE THIS POEM (originally written by Dave Griffith)  The best and most beautiful things of this world can't be seen or touched. They must be felt by the heart!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

 Caregiving 101:  Keep a journal!

          When we take on the role of caregiver, we take on many responsibilities.  In addition to all things custodial, my caring for Mom not only includes getting her to her doctor's appointments and seeing that medications are taken properly, but I have also taken on the role of advocate.  When Mom has been too ill to be able to talk to the physician, especially in the emergency room, it has been up to me to let them know what is going on.  At those times, it has been extremely beneficial to all of us for me to be able to open my journal and relay information to the doctor.  Our journal includes daily blood pressure readings, oxygen readings, daily fluid intake (Mom is prone to dehydration), and notes from our doctor visits.  When Mom has been prescribed a medication and it had an adverse effect on her, I note that in the journal and the next time a doctor suggest that medication for her, I can tell them why she can't take it, all because I made notes about it.

          When Mom was first diagnosed with her terminal illness, we invested in an inexpensive digital blood pressure monitor, a digital thermometer, and because she is constantly on oxygen, an inexpensive oxygen saturation meter.  Every day I take her blood pressure and oxygen saturation readings first thing in the morning, early evening, and the last thing at night and record these readings in a journal.  When we go to the doctor or when she has been in the hospital, I stay with her and record all of the nurse's vital readings as well.  Having the journal to show the physician gives a better over-all view of her situation.

         Caregiver, don't think you can rely on your memory!  Trust me!  You won't remember all of the details, especially when it is an emergency and you are grabbing your purse and their meds and jumping into the rescue squad for a mad dash to the emergency room!  It is better to write everything down and remember where the paper is! 

         A journal is also especially helpful if more than one person is giving care for a loved one, or when you have someone come in to be with the loved one while you are away.  A list of all medications and when they are given is a must when there is shared responsibilities! 

         Your journal doesn't have to be fancy forms.  If you prefer forms, that's great but it can be as simple as a spiral notebook.  Find what works for you and use it!  However, I do advise against using small pieces of scrap paper unless it is just to make a quick note that you later transfer to your journal.  Small pieces of paper have a way of getting lost, while a larger notebook is easy to find!

         Caregiver, if you are not in the habit of note keeping, please, please get in the habit of doing that where your loved one is concerned!  It will save you so much grief! 

         And as always, ask the Lord for guidance and wisdom for whatever you do in your role as caregiver.  And when you don't see a clear leading, do what you would want done for you if the roles were reversed.  Keep looking up, and keep moving forward!


        There are a number of forms on the internet that are free for personal use.  A particularly good reference is "Caring for Elderly Parents" and is available at the U.S. Department of State website at the following link:


         Another very good resource is "A Handbook for Family Caregivers of Patients with Serious Illness" which  includes printable forms.  It is available in an Adobe .pdf format at the following link:

   If you don't have an Adobe reader, it is available for free download a copy at the following link:

    Because I work a great deal on the computer, I have created several forms that have been very helpful for me.  I am including them below and you are welcome to copy and print them for your personal use. They are in a .jpg format (as a photo).  With your mouse pointer on the image, you can right click and save the image to your computer. 




Sunday, October 6, 2013

"The Presence of Sickness"

       Pastor preached today on "The Presence of Sickness".  He shared several things that I needed to be reminded of.

       In the Bible in John 11:1-4, we have the story of Lazarus, a man who, with his sisters Mary and Martha, were not just followers of Jesus but obviously close friends because Jesus was a frequent guest in their home.  Lazarus was sick.  And Jesus, the Great Physician, could have spoken the word and healed Lazarus, but didn't, so Lazarus died.

       We tend to equate good health, prosperity, and blessings as being signs that we are "right with God".  But that isn't always the truth.  As here in the Lazarus situation, these were good people, doing good things, and loved by Jesus.  And Lazarus was sick.

       When we accept Jesus as our personal savior and are living the best we know to please the Lord, we are just as Lazarus:  justified before God, and loved by Jesus.  But we get sick.

       Pastor reminded us today that Jesus allows sickness for a reason.  While we will never know all of the reasons, some of them are:

             1.    It helps us focus our praying.  A prayer with a great burden is one you pray fervently and continually.

             2.    Sickness humbles us and shows us our dependence on God.  It shows us that we are not in control.

             3.    Sickness opens the door for prayer and often sharing the gospel with someone who otherwise may not be interested in eternity.

             4.    It burdens us to pray for ourselves and for others.

             5.    Sickness is sent by God for good, not for evil, and to take us higher with Him.

       Jesus loved Lazarus.  Lazarus' sickness and death wasn't because of doing wrong, but was for God's glory.

       In caring for a loved one who is in great pain and suffering, it is often hard to see how the Lord can be glorified through the situation.  But for those of us who know the Lord as savior, we can be assured that He is in the midst of that pain with us.  We are not alone.  And our suffering here on this earth is not in vain. 

       Caregiver, what we do as we care for our loved one is as unto the Lord for Jesus said that when we give as much as a cup of cold water to someone in need, we are doing it as unto Him.  As hard as the labor can be, remember that it is a labor of love.  Keep looking up, asking the Lord to give you clear guidance and understanding.  He is a God who hears and answers prayer.  It may be that He will not change our situation, but He will surely change us!