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.