Hello again, good to see you back. As we're ministering to seniors, one of the,  the important elements of what we can do and how we can be of great service is to be aware of the needs of those who are caregivers. For example, the recently there was an individual I knew, from a group that I was a part of whose husband  had Parkinson's disease, and he was he was a real handful to take care of. And  she gradually gradually got worn down from taking care of him. And so she was  a senior herself, but she was the caregiver to her husband, we want to look at  some of those stressors today. I think as we minister to seniors, we need to be  aware of the very basic fact that the ones who are providing care to a senior  need to be cared for themselves. That is such a basic basic understanding of  how it is as people grow old together, they need to find ways of caring for each  other. And sometimes that caring gets to be a real burden. November is  designated as the national caregivers month in USA. And I'm not sure anybody  knows anything about that, other than those for whom it is important to know.  But I think it's worth being aware of national family caregivers month is a is a  recognition that those who care for others in their family are going to need  assistance, they're going to need help, they need to have a support system  around them in order that they themselves can be a support to the one who  needs it. It's a it's a complicated and delicately interwoven situation. And  sometimes it is difficult to know just what we need to do. For example, in one of  my congregations, there was this quite elderly woman who had had great  difficulty walking but she could with her cane, and, and she also could tell other  people what to do her mouth worked very well. So did her voice her brain was  was also in quite good condition. But she was a crotchety person. And she took  it out on her also elderly daughter, her daughter was probably around 60 to 65  and was being just worn down. And so she was aging before our eyes as we  watched her and as we tried to help her. But her mother was such a burden on  her that she needed to find a way to express the frustration and the heaviness  and the burden that she had. She needed care. And in that congregation, we  tried to give it to her as a group. For another for example, there's a friend of  mine who lives a great distance away from his mother in law, and he took time  off from work to accompany his wife to visit her mother for a month. The visit did  not go well. The elderly woman had several physical ailments that were just  sapping her strength. She was very cantankerous and demanded a great deal  more attention than even the two of my friends could provide. It was it was a  situation that after that month, they were hesitant to go visit her again, because  it had been so difficult had been so heavy on them to try to care for her when  she really needed to have almost nursing home care if she'd been in assisted  living, it would have been a significant amount of assisting from the caregivers  there. But she was living alone. And she demanded that her daughter do all  sorts of things for her, even though her daughter lives, many hours Air flight  away. And when I was thinking about this course, I couldn't help thinking back to

the time they came to see us. And they had left her mother a week prior and the  wife was just so stressed out, because of what all it happened because of her  visit with her mother. When we begin to help seniors in our ministry that we need to be aware of the difficulties that are experienced by the caregiver. These  difficulties are often unseen by others, as the elderly mother or father will only be severely crabby when no one else is around. And so one of the things that we  need to be able to do is to approach the caregiver and just gently ask them,  how's it going? Because one of the things they don't want to do is badmouth  their parent. And that's what they're going to feel like they're doing, they're  gonna feel like they are, are disrespecting dishonoring, doing things that tear  down their loved one in the eyes of those to whom they are speaking. And that  is not what our purpose is. Our purpose instead is to try to understand the  caregivers situation, and to find ways of helping them to find ways of  encouraging them, to find ways of being there for them. Those are the sorts of  things that need to happen, and that we can make happen for them. When we  begin this ministry, and as we continue this ministry, and as we realize how  much inter family tension there can be, as we give ministry to senior citizens.  Now one exception to the hidden stressor, was one of my parishioners who had  a stroke. And each day that he was living in a nursing home where each day his  daughter came to visit. And he would simply curse at her. I was there a few of  the times when she happened to show up when I was there at the same time.  And the man had been very nice to me. And he had been very caring and and  had been genial, congenial with me. And his daughter showed up and he just  cursed at her. And she looked at me and says, Pastor, what can I do? He does  this every time. I come to see him, and she said, I see him every day. And this is what he does every day. And you know, it's very difficult to try to answer that  question, What should she do? Because the problem is because of a stroke. It  was a, it was a medical problem. And it's not something that you can just fix, you can't take a med for it, you can't do do anything. It's just one of those things in  aging, that when a person has a stroke, they can change. And the personality  can change drastically. And this particular individual had been a really strong  spiritual leader in our church. But, you know, 15 years later, when he was sitting  in the nursing home with his after he had his stroke some year before. The  cursing that he would do was just just astounding. But his daughter and I both  knew that when she came to visit, that was what was going to happen, but I  could then take the initiative to be supportive to her and try to help her  understand that this was not what her dad had really been like all his life,  because that's what she began to feel like it was was everything else, just a  mask And was this his real self? And the answer is no, it is not There's others.  I've known it for my example, my mom and her mother. Her mom was living in a  nursing home in a small town. My mom happened to live about five or six blocks from her. And in the summertime, springtime fall, it would be nice to walk in the 

winter, she'd have to take her car because it wasn't safe to walk on all the ice  around and so on. But she needed to go to visit her mom every day. And that  was what her mother said that my grandmother and her grant heard mom  demanded that she be there demanded that she show up. And if she wouldn't,  she would be roundly criticized. Now, what was very interesting about this is that there were several other children living in that area. And they would come to visit their mom once or twice, or once, every week or two. And whenever they would  come, they would hear about the time my mom hadn't shown up, never told  them about she came every day, except for a couple once in a while. And my  mom was so hurt by that. She would, she would say, Well, what can I do I go to  see her every day. But she doesn't even seem to appreciate it. And if I'm there,  she doesn't seem to take acknowledgment of the fact that I'm there to love her  and care. And that was very difficult for my mom, my mother in law with her  mother had a similar situation where her mother needed a medication put into  her eyes every day, that she was living in an assisted living situation. And the  the people there. Well, they would have needed to be paid to do the eyedrops in this woman's eyes. But instead, she wanted my mother in law to come her  daughter to come and put the medication in her eyes. Every day in the evening,  about seven o'clock, my mother in law would go over there put the drops in her  eyes stay for a while, chit chat. And meanwhile, there were other daughters and  sons living in that very same town, who, when my mother in law wanted to, for  example, take a trip to come to visit us wherever we might be. They refuse to, to have anything to do with putting drops in her eyes. And it was only when it was  almost forced upon them that they finally begrudgingly said okay, I'll go there.  But meanwhile, they expected my mother in law to be there everyday putting  those drops in her eyes. And that raises tensions in the family. It creates  resentment, because the caregiver never has a break. Nor does the caregiver  find that people are giving them support. And so the personal reactions, that my  mom, my mother in law felt the sibling difficulty could all have been alleviated If  only someone had given them the right and the opportunity to not have to be  there every day. Now to be supportive to the senior caregiver, we really need to  know the signs of distress in the caregiver. And first of all depression, you will  see the individual looking rather depressed the they'll they'll be walking with their head hanging down, they'll be showing various signs of not being happy at all.  There'll be withdrawal sometimes you won't see them for a while. They just want to avoid everything because they they don't want to face another person.  They've had enough stress in their life with the one with to whom they're  providing care. You might see them with anxiety where they're they're just so  jumpy, and every little sound startles them, maybe you see them flying off the  handle in anger. Perhaps you'll notice they have difficulty concentrating where if  you're telling this individual this caregiver about a story, and then pretty soon  you can tell that they have no idea at all what you were talking about. 

Sometimes you see changes in eating habits as the caregiver begins to  overload with, with carbs or something like that eating lots of ice cream, lots of  donuts, or something like that. Maybe they'll tell you about, they just can't sleep  at night. Or they're exhausted, maybe you see that they've taken up drinking or,  you know, startingly, they're breaking out the cigarettes regularly. It could even  be that you'll notice that they're having health problems themselves. As they  give care. We need to, to be aware of the help and the care that they need, as  well. So keep this in mind. When you're ministering to seniors, you're also caring about the caregivers, who are taking care of their spouse or their their elderly  parents. And it's very, very difficult for them. The calling that God gives us, the  calling that he wants us to take is to help caregivers to have hope in their  struggle. Because one of the things, they just can't see an end, they just cannot  see where this is going, they cannot see that there's going to come an end, they  just can't imagine that it would get done. And while the caregiver may insist all is well, when we see them struggling, we need to gently help. Just gentle some  gentle Suggestions are always appropriate. Always ask permission, can I give  you a hand? Can I take care of your mom or your dad, or your husband or your  wife for a couple hours one day? Can I do that for you. giving orders on the  other hand to the caregiver will not be helpful because they they get so many  orders from the person they're caring for already. So you could give some  suggestions for the exhausted or overwhelmed caregivers. You know, you could  consider taking some time off from work. That may be just what they need.  Maybe they're trying to work to support the household. And meanwhile, they're  also giving care to this person and it just wearing them out to do both. Another  thing that we can, we can assure them of is that self care, taking care of me is  necessary and it is not an immoral choice. Because that's what you're going to  hear from them. You're going to hear them say but God says I need to honor my  father, my mother, or they're going to say, but I made a vow that I would never  do this. That I would never leave them in sickness and in health. I'm here for  them. Self Care is necessary. And it is not immoral. To take care of yourself.  Another suggestion that just could be handed out? Are you getting some  exercise? Can I can I go for a walk with you this afternoon? Is probably all it  would take to get them out. Get some fresh air, get their mind settled and  calmed again. Because when you're taking care of someone, for example, with  Parkinson's, it is extremely challenging and difficult. We might say Did you ever  consider getting some assistance from an agency? Since my wife worked in one of those agencies, I know how wonderful it can be. It wasn't it wasn't any sort of  medical care. She doesn't have a medical license so she would just go in to be a friend to be a helper or to be someone who helped with, with personal care who, who observed whether the person was taking their meds or not. But none of it  was medical care that she was giving. And so I know what a wonderful thing it  can be to get some assistance from an agency, because I know how wonderful 

a caregiver my wife is. The other thing that you can do is, is say, talk to me. Why don't we just get together and talk for a while? Or have you talked to someone  else about how things are going for you? You might suggest could we get more  organized, there's something that we, as a congregation we as Christians can  do to help you that will be more organized in order to give you some assistance.  Maybe we can identify limitations and set boundaries with them. Maybe we can  even help them to discover community resources. All across the United States  there are places called Area Agency on Aging. And that is the place where you  can find information about all different sorts of help, that there are for the aging,  and how that help can be accessed. Another thing we could suggest just to get  some respite. And what that means is take a break. Take a little two day trip and  have someone else care for your, your loved one. And just relax, you don't have  to go very far. Just go someplace where you can see God's great creation and  God's great outdoors where you can unwind a little bit. And you'll be so  refreshed. To be able to come back to help once again. There's so many more  things that could be said in terms of suggestions. But when when you're doing  ministry to seniors, we'll see how people are struggling and then we can reach  out and try to help. And you know, when we care for others, we give them a  great blessing. Do we have to? No, that we do this within our own abilities, we  are not obligated to extend ourselves beyond our own abilities, even though the  loved one might demand it, even though we may feel that God demands it. God  is not asking us to extend ourselves beyond our own abilities. We can do what  we can. And then that's all. And it's not a bad thing to say that. Because already  as we're caring for we're giving such a great blessing. Whatever the caregivers,  abilities are, are to be celebrated. But then we can't say to them, well, you also  got to do this, this, this. It doesn't work that way. We give people love and when  we care for the caregivers, we too are showing them that we love them well, as I said before, there's so much more that could and really needs to be said on this  topic. But this is all for now. We'll see you next time.

Last modified: Wednesday, November 22, 2023, 7:22 AM