The Benefits of Caring for an Aging Loved One
Working in the field of gerontology for nearly 20 years, I have had frequent opportunities to study, teach and learn about the subject of caring for aging loved ones. And more often than not my study includes discussions about the tremendous stress that is on caregivers. People caring for an aging spouse or parent juggle many tasks in one day, such as, shopping for groceries, chauferring to doctor’s appointments, picking up medicines, preparing meals, helping with finances, cleaning, helping to bathe and dress, listening and sharing. All the while, this caregiver may have a full-time job, children and grandchildren to care for and other responsibilities. It is a very stressful time and a role that is a reality for millions of baby boomers.
But, recently, I was quite encouraged to read a short piece that talked about the benefits of caregiving and it reminded me of earlier this year when I asked friends and readers of my blog and facebook page to share all the blessings — the good things— that come with being in the second half of life.
The primary caregiver of a loved one experiences a special closeness with that individual and it can be a very sweet bonding experience. The sharing of memories and talking about special moments is a wonderful blessing. And caregiving can actually help us to draw closer to God. But, I’d like to hear from you. It doesn’t matter if you cared for someone in their own home, in your home, or in a nursing home…it’s all caregiving.
So, for those of you who are caregivers, who have been caregivers, who have watched others provide care, or who just have some insight, what are the blessings and benefits that can be experienced when we care for an aging loved one?
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40