What is the nature of care? Do we “give” care generously, or is it a list of tasks to squeeze into the day? Is there a difference between “care for” and “care about”? Is it a job? A relationship?
For friends and families who serve as caregivers to sick or infirm loved ones, the answer to those questions is All of the Above. If you or someone you know has ever served as a caregiver, you know the physical, emotional and spiritual toll caregiving can take.
This November, as we observe National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, remember to support the people in your life who provide these tender mercies to others.
Here are some tips:
1. Provide transportation for the care-receiver to social events. This helps the caregiver enjoy some personal time at home.
2. Drop off complete meals that meet the dietary needs and preferences of both caregiver and care receiver. This is helpful not only in time of acute illness or hospitalization but from time to time simply to relieve some pressure.
3. Continue to include both caregiver and care receiver in church or community events by anticipating and accommodating their needs.
4. Telephone to check in at a time when the call does not have to be rushed. Listen more than anything else. Offer to pray for the circumstances right then on the phone.
5. Rather than saying, “Let me know if I can do something,” ask, “Would it be all right if I …” and make a specific offer of help—taking children for a special outing, making a run to the grocery store or another idea appropriate to the circumstances. You can find more information on supporting caregivers at CHReader.org, Church Health’s quarterly publication.
This is Butch Odom from Church Health.