A Closer Look… At Caregiving
National Family Commission member
creatures… bear the imprint of the Most High." (SFO Rule, Article
28) Each of us has the spirit of
God within us. We belong to God -
it is a kinship bound in love and commitment.
We must let our "thoughts and deeds conform to those of
Christ." (SFO Rule, Article 7)
These beautiful words take on special meaning when we consider the role
of caregiving in our lives. Today,
more adult children are finding that providing care for an elderly parent or
other relative takes a "heavy toll emotionally, physically, and
Family Commission recognizes the role of the caregiver as an increasingly
necessary one for our aging population. "Today
there are 34.7 million Americans 65 or older, according to the Census Bureau.
By 2011, there will be 40 million; and by 2050, nearly 82 million."
We, as Secular Franciscans, will be a part of these numbers - first as a
caregiver ourselves to another needy individual, and then moving into the stage
of being the recipient of the care. The
purpose of this column will be to address the problems and cares of the elderly,
or any individual that experiences diminished capacity. The viewpoint will be taken from the perspective of Saint
Francis and his ideals. Modern
medicine is allowing our lives to be extended, but we must approach the
challenge of those added years through the Franciscan way.
Franciscans, we have the Rule to uphold.
The Rule can provide guidelines to how we handle our own problems
of aging and how we address the responsibility of caring for another individual.
We must combine the ideals that we learn from Saint Francis and the Bible
into the reality of the challenge that we are actually facing in our own lives.
We are aging and changing - but we will always have the spirit of God
within us, no matter what happens to the inside or outside of our physical body.
Spiritually we will be tested by guilt - knowing what we are supposed to
do for a loved one - and yet feeling overwhelmed with the responsibility of our
task at hand.
the future course of the Family Commission newsletter, look for this column that
will help with positive ideas on how to handle our own issues on aging and how
we can get help for being caregivers. Know
that you are not alone!
on care-giving http://www.caregiving.org
"How Can We Help?" by Bemard Gavzer from Parade Magazine, July