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Caregiver Training Blog

Lenten Prayer for Caregivers: Lessons Learned from a Kitten

Topics: Caregiver Info
woodpile kittiesWhen we think about Lent, what often comes to mind is giving up or letting go of something we truly love and feel we can’t go without.  Giving up our daily three or four cups of coffee, decadent chocolate or perhaps letting go of our mindless scrolling on Facebook may be a big enough sacrifice for many.  Sacrifice is certainly something family caregivers know about first hand.  Caregivers are often required to give up their time, their energy and perhaps even that special space in your home used for meditation and solitude. The truth is, once you open yourself up to care for a loved one, life changes and sacrifices are required.

According to an updated 2012 report from the national Consensus Development Conference, San Francisco: Family Caregiver Alliance:

“40% to 70% of family caregivers have clinically significant symptoms of depression with about a quarter to half of these caregivers meeting the diagnostic criteria for major depression.”

So how do caregivers cope with the everyday stresses and often physically demanding role of caring for a loved one?  A  September 2006 article in Aging & Mental Health states:

 “Although not without rewards, caring for frail adults can be very stressful, and may cause physical and psychiatric morbidity (Schulz & Beach 1999).  According to a recent national poll, religion/spirituality is one of the most important coping resources for caregivers; 73% report that they pray to cope with the demands of caregiving (Cargiving in the U.S., 2004).

If our spirituality is important to us, we will recognize and perhaps put into practice the idea that there is value in sacrifice, kindness, commitment and compassion.  Prayer, generosity and good works are all part of the Lenten season, yet they are also embedded in the lives of so many caregivers every day of their lives. 

As a family caregiver allow yourself some time for prayer and reflection.  As part of mmLearn’s Prayers for Caregiver series, Kay Gerfers once again reminds us all about the importance of finding spirituality in some of the very ordinary places in our lives.  Kay’s story of the little kitten may provide you with a new look at your own Lenten journey. Take a minute out of your busy schedule to watch this short inspiring story.   For additional information on making your life as a caregiver easier, go to mmLearn.org to view our training videos for caregivers of older adults.