Saturday, April 28, 2018

Caregiver Burnout

Caregiver burnout is a very real problem.  It is occurring increasingly as the baby boomer generation ages. I experienced it when I was a caregiver for my husband.  My husband's declines due to his neurological disease were basically physical. Some caregivers experience the declines of their loved ones in other ways.  Those declines involves memory loss and dementia which takes a huge toll on both the person affected by the disease and also on his or her caregiver.  

The program, 60 Minutes, recently did a show which was a result of a ten year plus study on a married couple affected by Alzheimer's disease.  The wife was the person who was suffering with the disease, and the husband was her caregiver.  The program shows the emotional and physical toll caring for a loved one can have on the caregiver  By clicking the first link below you can view that program segment.  It is sad, but it is worth watching.  

Remember, dear caregiver, do everything you can to lighten your load.  Take time for yourself.  Seek outside help.  Watch your own health.  Rest things with the Lord.  If you are not currently a caregiver what can you do to help someone who is a family caregiver?

As a PS to this post consider getting my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers, as a resource to encourage you; if you are a family caregiver.  This is the most recent review at Amazon from a reader of my book.  This reader first cared for his mother and is now caring for his mother-in-law:

"I found this book to be a real comfort as I grieved the loss of my mother and also care for my mother-in-law. The author's homespun wisdom is down to earth but also points the reader up to God as the ultimate source of comfort and strength. She does this with great warmth and care, and she transparently shares throughout the book regarding her own struggles, losses, joys, and lessons learned along her own journey caring for her husband. Highly recommended for Christian readers seeking comfort and practical advice along the difficult road of caregiving."

The link to the order page for my book at Amazon is the second link below:

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Lessons Learned From Cinderella?

I have a confession to make.  I enjoy Cinderella type stories.  Yet is the Cinderella story we all know a true picture of what love really entails?  In the story the prince falls in love with a beautiful magically transformed Cinderella.  Yet the real Cinderella was also a young lady who was being abused by her family.  She most likely wore ragged clothes and was covered in ash soot.  She may have had major self-esteem issues because of how she had been treated by her family.

It appears as if the prince accepted her, because when he found her in her lowly estate he married her and took her to the palace to live with him.  In order for initial love to survive the prince had to have committed love as well, however.  He had to love her more than he loved himself.  He had to love her in spite of her weaknesses and hang-ups.  He had to love her in sickness and in health.  He had to have a "until death due us part" love for her.

Many of my readers are showing that kind of committed love to the family member for whom they are caring be it spouse, parent, or other family member or even a friend.  This kind of love requires sacrifice and is not always Cinderella like glamorous.  It takes commitment no matter how difficult it gets.  Thank you, dear caregiver, for the love that you show in that way to your loved one.

Remember too, dear caregiver, the Lord, your true Prince, accepts you and loves you with all your weaknesses.  He loves you with a true committed love which we humans can only begin to mimic.  He also clothes you with His righteousness, if you are His child!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

April's Anniversaries

April brings to mind significant milestones in my life.  Ten years ago in April after an eight month period I completed all my cancer treatents. Then April is the month in 2006 when we had our first indication that my husband, Wayne, had a serious neuroloical disease.

April of this year also marks the fourth anniversary of the publication of my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.  As  many of you may know my passion to encourage caregivers was ignited as a result of my own experience of being my husband's caregiver for four and a half years.  I experienced the emotions and struggles of a spouse and family caregiver who step by step saw her husband deteriorate and become more and more disabled.   As a result I first started this caregiver blog a few months after Wayne's death in early 2011, and then at the encouragment of one of my readers I wrote my book Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers which was published in April of 2014.

Below is the synopsis written on the back cover of the book.  Part of it is a repeat of what I already said.  I apologize for that:

"Family care-giving for a loved one with a serious illness is a very noble and important role. It is also often a challenging and emotionally and physically draining endeavor. DEAR CAREGIVER is a book written to encourage caregivers in this all consuming but vital ministry for which many caregivers feel ill equipped. This book points to the Lord as the caregiver's source of strength. The book further seeks to provide practical and spiritual encouragement to family caregivers who have lovingly taken on a role which they did not anticipate or perhaps desire. 

The author is a mother and grandmother, and she was married to her husband, Wayne, for over thirty-nine years. In 2006 Wayne was diagnosed with a serious neurological disease. The author was Wayne's caregiver for four and a half years until his death in early 2011. She knows the heartache and physical and emotional stress of being a caregiver for a loved one. Hence, her passion is to encourage family caregivers in their struggles. 

The book starts with a brief synopsis of the author's personal care-giving story followed by over one hundred brief meditations written to encourage current caregivers. The author seeks to stay connected to her readers by relevant examples from her own care-giving experiences in order to drive home messages in the text and to enable the readers to persevere in the challenges of family care-giving. It is the author's desire to facilitate this goal through her willingness to be vulnerable and honest about the feelings and emotions she experienced as a caregiver for her husband. She explores both the blessings and challenges of care-giving and the blessing of drawing closer to the Lord through the experience."

You can order the book at Amazon which is the first link below.  Your can also order elsewhere online and at Barnes and Noble which is the link below the Amazon link.  Amazon has a Kindle version and Barnes and Noble has a Nook version as well as a paperback version.  Finally you can order directly from me by contacting me for details at  If you order directly from me it will be a signed copy:

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Why is There Suffering in This World?

Why does God allow suffering in the lives of Christians?  Why are we living in an increasingly dangerous world of persecution and suffering?  Why is there suffering of any kind in this world? Why is there abuse of all kinds and hardships in our world? Why did your loved one become ill, dear caregiver?  If God is a God of miracles, why doesn't God just fix things?

There are no easy answers to these questions.  We do know that sin entered this world when Adam and Eve, the first people, disobeyed God.  Hence, we no longer live in a perfect world.  It is now a world affected by sorrow and sickness.  Also people make bad choices sometimes which unfortunately affects other people as well.

Jesus said we would face trials in this life.  He also said, however, that we can take heart, because He has overcome the world (John 16:33 in the New Testament of the Bible).  He has promised to always be with us and never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5b in the New Testament).  We also have the assurance that someday all will be made right and perfect when He returns.

Being my husband's caregiver and watching his body deteriorate and fighting breast cancer myself during part of that time was a very difficult experience for me.  There have been trials that have continued/continue to follow me in the seven plus years that I have lived as a widow.  Why did/does God allow that in my life?  

There are no easy answers to these questions.  I do know God has used the difficult experiences in my life to teach me valuable lessons.  I am learning that I am not in control.  I am learning of the need to depend on the Lord, even though I still am prone to fret and try to solve things in my own strength.  I am learning of the need to seek God for Himself and not for what He can give me.  I have seen His faithfulness over and over.  Through trials I have grown and continue to grow in my love for the Lord. I have come to know not just in my head but in my heart in a deeper way the truths of His promises.  I often still get easily discouraged, but I know that feelings are not a measure of God's truths.  Feelings do not negate God's promises to always be with me.

We have just experienced Easter.  Christ suffered unimaginable suffering, so we could be saved. Easter also assures us of His presence in our lives through the trials we suffer.  It proves His love for us.  We need no other proof of Christ's love, when we really contemplate what He did for us.  Rest in that, dear caregiver.