Parents are often playing the role of caregivers to older family members as well. Here’s how you can help.
Posted in , Jul 19, 2017
Have you ever accidentally squished a sandwich by sitting on your lunch bag? I imagine that’s the pressure some people feel as they juggle raising their children while taking care of aging parents or a chronically ill spouse. What can we do to help friends or family who are struggling to manage all these responsibilities? Here are a few ideas:
1) Offer your help. And make sure it’s known that your offer is genuine, not just a polite gesture.
2) Pick up the phone and call. Sometimes caring for two generations (especially if dementia is involved) means the caregiver never has a normal adult conversation. Just hearing a pleasant voice and knowing that someone cares can make a huge difference.
3) Make clear that their conversations with you are safe. They can let off steam without being judged.
Courtney B. Vance is a celebrated actor – he just took home an Emmy for his work in The People vs. O.J. Simpson – but the star has an even more important job: caregiver. Vance’s mother suffers with ALS and the actor has been her caretaker through the long and difficult journey of her illness, but it’s his love for his wife and their strong bond that has made the responsibility of caretaking easier to bear.
Hear how the experience has brought Vance’s family closer together: http://bit.ly/2lrU4iO
Her dad had Type 2 diabetes and was scheduled for open heart surgery. He came out fine but with a change to his medication: he’d need insulin injections now, ones she had to give him. The only problem? She was terrified of needles. The experience of helping her dad with his shots drew them closer and ended up strengthening her own faith.
Read her story here: http://bit.ly/2mE7N6l
Marni's mom was always bubbly and positive, so when she got a call saying her mother wasn’t doing well, she panicked. Depression is a hidden problem for the aging but Marni never thought her outgoing, fun-loving mother would suffer from it. She decided to do something drastic and rely on her faith to help her mom find herself again.
Read her story here: http://bit.ly/2lZh8bW
Alzheimer’s had taken so much from country icon Glen Campbell…and from his wife Kim Campbell. Caring for him was the one thing Kim had left.
Read Kim's inspiring story here: http://bit.ly/2mx5e6R
Lifestyle guru and restauranteur B. Smith was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's at 64. See how she and her husband and business partner are fighting back.
Read the couple's moving story here: http://bit.ly/2mnfrG9
Her dad was strong and independent. He loved on his 100-acre ranch in western Oregon—God’s country, as he called it. He loved driving his truck, cooking, taking care of his beloved horse, Cotton, even digging postholes. But his stroke left him unable to walk or swallow. He could barely speak. His inspiration for getting better was returning to the place he loved. Could she help him get there?
Read her story here: http://bit.ly/2mxbCLu
Singer Amy Grant shared her story of taking care of her dad who suffers with dementia. She says that though her father’s mind is slowly deteriorating, the family’s bond is stronger than ever and her dad’s condition has taught her a lesson in faith and hope.
Read her story here: http://bit.ly/2lhEjtM
She had been her husband’s caretaker for nearly four years but when he died, she was shocked to discover she actually missed caregiving. It gave her purpose and a renewed sense of faith. So she began volunteering at a community center in town. Now, she’s sharing her gift of taking care of others with those who need it most.
Read her story here: http://bit.ly/2lrVBpa
Married for thirty years, this couple lost themselves in caregiving for their parents and addicted son. Would they be able to find their way back to each and restore the love that brought them together so many years ago?
Read their touching story here: http://bit.ly/2m4f7eX
Her job working with seniors gave her the training she hoped she'd never need: Caring for her mother who had dementia.
Read her story here: http://bit.ly/2lZoEU5
Click on a picture to enjoy more inspiring photos and stories.
4) Let them know you’re praying for them. Ask for specific requests.
5) Fix dinner and take it to them. Bake a cake or prepare several meals they can just remove from the freezer and heat up at mealtime. Or give them some restaurant gift cards, particularly to places that will make home deliveries.
6) Come for a visit. Fold the laundry or do the dishes while you talk with your friend.
7) Offer to run errands. That will help an exhausted mom or dad or caregiver mark one thing off a long list of to-do items.
8) If it’s not a problem from a medical perspective, offer to sit with the ill family member so the caregiver can spend quality time with his or her own children. Sometimes caring for a loved one with a chronic illness means that they never have time for things like shopping with their daughters for a prom dress or attending their son’s ballgame.
9) Or find a second friend and tag-team to stay with the children and the family member who needs care. Send your friends on a date night. Caregiving can be rough on a marriage.
10) Do fun things yourself with their children. Even little ones pick up on stress and can become resentful if they feel like they’re no longer the top priority for their parents.
Be a blessing, and God will bless you as well.