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Churches Reaching Out to Caregivers

One of the most challenging life issues facing boomers is caring for their aging parents. Eavesdrop on a conversation between adults who are in their 50s and 60s and at some point you are bound to hear them talk about their concerns regarding their aging mom and dad.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on how churches can minister with aging baby boomers by providing ministry with the boomer’s parent. Now, I want to suggest a few additional ways that churches can minister with boomers who are caregivers.

1. Offer a support group. Call it whatever you want – support group, small group, discussion group, whatever. The point is to provide a safe place for those caring for an aging parent to talk about their concerns and heartaches, share resources with one another, discuss Biblical principles related to caregiving and pray with one another.

2. Develop a ministry devoted to providing breaks for caregivers. Some churches host an adult day care on their campus where caregivers can drop off their elderly loved one for several hours, knowing they will be well cared for. Even providing this service once a month can provide caregivers with a much-needed break.

3. Invite caregivers to telephone the church if they would like to discuss issues related to their aging parent. One church leader told me that whenever the church attempted to hold workshops or conferences focused on caring for aging parents, the turn-out was low. But, when he put a short blurb in the Sunday worship bulletin suggesting that those wanting to talk about issues related to caregiving could give him a call, his phone was ringing off the hook.

4. Suggest resources. Caregivers are busy and overwhelmed. They do not have time to spend hours on the internet or in a bookstore. One of the most helpful things a church can do is to become a clearinghouse as to the resources available in the community. Churches can research services available and then create a library of brochures and phone numbers and make these available to caregivers.

It is also helpful to have a few books that you would recommend. One I frequently suggest to caregivers is Caring for Your Aging Parents: When Love Is Not Enough by Barbara Deane. While the book is 20 years old, it is still one of my favorites because it approaches caregiving from a Biblical perspective and discusses the emotional and spiritual needs of the caregiver and the elderly parent.

With people continuing to live longer, opportunities for ministry with caregivers is only going to increase.

What have you found to be effective in ministering with those who are caring for an aging loved one?

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2 comments

  • April 21, 2011 11:43 amPosted 8 years ago
    Ron Moore

    Thanks for your thoughts on churches ministering to caregivers. A great resource for families dealing with caregiving issues is the National Caregivers Library. It even has a entire section on “Caregiving Ministries” and models for setting up various care-related ministries.

    Reply
    • April 21, 2011 3:51 pmPosted 8 years ago
      Amy Hanson (Author)

      Thank you, Ron, for the information about this great resource! I hope you will continue to be a part of the conversation in regards to ministry with older adults and their families.

      Reply

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