How Can You Care for the Caregiver in Your Congregation?

How can you care for the caregiver in your congregation? Listen as Elaine K. Sanchez, caregiver author/speaker, addresses one of the most frequent caregiver emotions: guilt.




Look around your congregation.

  • What older couple have you not seen lately?

  • Who has flown off again to care for an aging parent on the other side of the country?

  • Which sandwich generation family is just too exhausted to make it?

    The caregiver stress in your congregation is often invisible. Caregivers describe their situations matter-of-factly. When asked, they may even dismiss circumstances that are truly overwhelming.


    How can you provide real caregiver support?

    1. Begin by acknowledging individually that you know it's not easy. Just an empathetic word of encouragement can make a huge difference on any given day.



    2. Become familiar with the emotions that may be present. Don't be afraid to name them out loud --

    grief,

    sadness,

    fear,

    guilt,

    exahustion.

    A caregiver may be too busy trying to suppress the reality and need permission to speak the truth.



    3. Ask caregivers what they need most.

    "If we could support you in some specific way, what would make the most difference to you right now?"

    Use their answers to recruit volunteers, create new ministries or support groups to solve address those concerns. You may be able to change lives with some seemingly small efforts.







    Congregations and Senior Adult Ministries


    From Care for the Caregiver to Aging Parents Home Page