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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

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    November 4, 2011 2:39 amPosted 6 years ago
    Al Magnuson

    My wife’s parents have lived with us for three and a half years. Dad is 91 with declining kidney function; Mom is 90 with macrodegeneration and Parkinson’s disease. We have not yet needed to help them with personal hygiene and dressing. We have never before lived in the same state so bonding is probably the greatest benefit. Dad and I have become best friends.

    The spiritual encouragement — Dad and I pray each evening when I give him his medications — is of immeasurable benefit.

    With them living at our place, we have benefitted from visits by their other children and grandchildren from over 1,000 miles away.

    One of the hard aspects has been to correct Dad regarding the way he verbally treats Mom and those serving him in stores, airports, etc. But we have had the privilege of seeing God make some notable transformations in his life during this time.

    And I would be neglegent not to mention the emotional benefit of their sincere and frequent expressions of appreciation.

    We are talking with Dad at this time about hospice so more challenging times are in the near future, but serving those who so selflessly served us in years gone by has been a blessing beyond my ability to describe.

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  • December 24, 2011 6:02 amPosted 5 years ago
    Jarl Kubat

    My parents health problems started in their early fifties and My wife and I moved them across the street from us, so we could more easily care for them. Caring for my parents was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. Our 3 children were quite young when we were doing this and they were a very big help, all 3 kids developed very special relationships with their grandparents. If you are ever given the opportunity to care for your aging parents – Take It!

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