Saturday, February 15, 2014
Caregiving 101: Showing Love.
In the daily routine of caring for our loved one, we can get so caught up in their physical care that we forget that they need emotional support, especially their need to feel loved.
The Bible tells us that we are made in the image of God. And the Bible also tells us that one of the attributes of God is that He is love - not that He loves, but that He IS love! So being made in the image of a loving God, we are naturally make for both loving and being loved. And that is true regardless of our age and the physical or mental condition we find ourselves in.
My Mom has a weakening body and getting weaker every day. But her mind is clear, so I don't have situations to deal with that several of my friends do who have Alzheimer parents. But whether it is physical or mental decay, the ones we are caring for still need to know that they are loved.
There are so many ways we can love them, but, as a friend shared this week, "love is not dependent on another person's response". We give the love, and if they do not respond as we think they should, then we need to accept that and still love them.
When my father was dying of cancer, one of his nurses told me that the last sense we loose is our hearing. So when I was with Dad the day he died, I talked to him, sharing with him that I loved him and always would. If your loved one is unable to respond due to a stroke, Alzheimer's or some other physical condition, keep in mind that they probably can still hear your words! Speak good to them, speak love to them, speak blessing to them, even if they can't respond!
Showing love is not just saying "I love you". It is the physical touch that is needed also. And it doesn't have to be a big thing! An arm around a frail shoulder, a kiss on the cheek, touching their hand, even just gently moving a strand of hair off of their face shows love and make a physical connection with that person.
We need that physical contact! I have seen this first hand, both with the small children that come to me after church to the older, widow ladies that exchange hugs with me. There is something about that physical touch that comforts and encourages us and makes our words to them more personal and warm.
Another good way to show love is to send a card to someone that you know, especially someone that may now be alone or going thru a particularly rough time. Ladies that have been recently widowed are particularly hurting on special occasions such as their anniversary, the birthday of the deceased spouse, their own birthday, Valentine's Day, and Christmas. Just knowing that someone remembers them can lift the burden and remind them that they are not alone.
No act of kindness is ever wasted. We may not see the result of that act, but it still influences the one receiving or even someone who may see your act of kindness without you even knowing. Give love, do something kind, and leave the rest to the Lord. We can only plant the seeds; we cannot make the flower grow - that is the Lord's job!
Care giver, remember, too, that you are loved with an Everlasting love. On those days that you feel weary and unloved, get alone and pour your heart out to the Lord, rest there for a while, and allow our Savior to love you a bit - He truly does! Stay on your knees and keep looking up!
Posted by The Watsons