Supporting Caregiving Families

A guide for faith communities.

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  • Train congregants to support the emotional and spiritual needs of your community. Training will help increase congregational awareness and sensitivity, and expand the resources available to caregiving or grieving families.

  • Honor your family caregivers with an event that recognizes their contributions and provides them with some fun--a special dinner or some other kind of outing. Be sure to include respite care as part of the event for those who need it.

  • Provide educational programs and/or materials on end-of-life planning. Death and dying are natural parts of life, but they are not issues most of us are comfortable talking about. You can help the members of your faith community prepare for the end of life by:

    • Providing information on powers of attorney, living wills and other advance directives.
    • Developing a resources list of area professionals (elder care attorneys, geriatric care managers, financial planners) who can help families in time of need.
  • Put together readings from your faith tradition that speak to caregiver issues and needs. Present them as a gift to caretakers in your congregation so they will always have spiritual support when they need it.

  • Compile a list of local resources for families in caregiving situations. This list can include government agencies, local home care agencies, medical equipment suppliers, hospices, assisted living communities, nearby senior centers and adult day care facilities, taxi services that have wheelchair accessible vehicles, pharmacies that deliver, and more.

  • Establish a congregational health ministry to minister to the healthcare needs of your community. As part of the program, recruit volunteers from the congregation to serve as support caregivers who are willing to provide respite for caregivers and a friendly visit to care recipients. Consider organizing all of the suggestions above under the auspices of the health ministry for a truly comprehensive program.

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