Deja’Vu: Caring for An Aged Loved One

Standing in line at Home Depot with a cart full of boxes, moving paper, bubble wrap, and tape, the cashier said, “Ma’am, you’re next.” In a haze, deja’vu, so to speak was I. An overwhelming sense of familiarity, “I’ve done this” washed over me. Less than two years ago we lost Mother to cancer, moved Daddy to the independent/assisted living apartment of his choice, packed up and sold their home, and then took a plethora of furniture and heirloom items to the grandkids. Daddy had hip replacement surgery last January and has spent most of this year in rehab.

Advance with prayer
Over the months many have shared they’ve undergone the similar and challenging situation with parents or other close relatives. By the grace of God, prayers, hard work, research, and devotion, my Dad will be moving closer to family. Before my husband, Steve, and I drove to Tampa, I asked several friends to pray I could get everything packed, “keep a guard by the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3) and keep a sense of humor. Several times over the weekend I felt a jolt of energy run through me, and I knew somebody was praying for me. My friends were supporting me across the miles in prayer. God strengthens His people when we depend upon Him for power to “just do the next thing.” (Elizabeth Elliott) Oh Beloved, when you say you are going to pray for someone, do it! We need each other’s support and persistence in prayer, never giving up, to ensure a victory.

Develop a plan
It is not easy for our parents to leave the familiar and move, preserving their independence, knowing they need more help with daily living, and the family needs assurance our loved ones are safe. Daddy is brave making the decision to move closer to family in this stage of his life. When we have a parent or loved one who has had a major life change, is slow from recovery of surgery or injury, or whose general health is deteriorating and needs assistance with daily living activities, may we lovingly step in with a plan. While not easy and time consuming, finding alternate and affordable care safeguarding our loved one’s privacy and independence can be accomplished.

Find resources
Steve and I often feel ill equipped to face the challenges of elder care and have found an excellent resource for managing its emotional and practical aspects in Focus on the Family’s Caring For The Aging Loved One.
Friends suggested we purchase the book several years ago, and we love how its chapters remind us to be compassionate yet stand firm when we see what our aging loved ones cannot.
Not perfect, falling short often in this chapter of our life, we have found it to be a sound resource for emotional strength, financial advice and unity, keeping the lines of communication open as we renew our hearts.

Cling to God’s word
We will go through many moments of deja’vu when caring for our loved ones. Let us handle each situation with love and grace, dismissing feelings of irritation and not being appreciated, and clinging to the word of God as a light upon our path.
May you find strength at this time and always by memorizing the word of God. Here are a “weekly seven” verses to meditate on, to renew a steadfast spirit within and receive a refreshing from their timeless wisdom. Bring on the renewal that comes when we hide His word within!
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). God made families.
“If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). Families are important to God.
“Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:7-8a). Love conquers all things.
“…may others be won over without words by (our) behavior, when they see the purity and reverence of (our) lives” (1 Peter 3:1b-2). Let Jesus stick out all over.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). Forgive multiple times like God does for us.
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourself” (Romans 12:10). Honor is found in sincerity.
“Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:32). Respecting our elders is a God given command.
Bottom Line: Parents (young and old) hold a special place in God’s sight.

Vickie Estler has a heart for encouraging parents of all ages to go to the Word of God and prayer a priority in their lives. She is a monthly speaker at Moms on a Mission (Happy Heart) at Rio Vista Community Church and writes a blog at ponder365.com.

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