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So often, I question, Why am I going through this? As a Christian, I'm not supposed to feel this way! She's still alive, so God must have a purpose for her. There is incredible guilt that goes along with those questions and feelings. I search some Christian care giving sites and found this little nugget to be encouraging. Thought I would pass it along. Basic info, but powerful if you just take a moment to meditate on it.

The Spiritual Aspects of Caregiving

Trust me! This may be painful but its for the best! God tells us that [w]hen you pass through the fire, you will not be burned. He wants us to remember that though fire burns, it also purifies. The Refiner wants believers to look at the positive aspects that caregiving offers:
A closer relationship with God
Trust in God
A sense that others are watching your faith in action
A more mature faith, purified by testing
The ability to face and handle negative emotions
Healing of previous hurts, especially involving family fallouts

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We all have some personal constance that allows us
to get out of bed and start another day
whether we are caregiving or not.

What ever you personally want to call it,
we are all individuals here,
and DIVERSITY is key in solving problems
and finding comfort.

And since we are all individuals and our situations are unique to us,
that we rise and gain confidence in sharing our stories,
and RESPECT PEOPLE who have DIFFERENCES as just that differences,
but one day you may be surprised that a person with a differing opinion, will be the one, who can either change your opinion (path) or allow you to become more confident in the path have chosen.
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Yes, bringing religion into it can create problems...for some of us. For others, it can be a source of useful information and strength. None of us is fully aware of all that goes on in the lives of those who come to this forum for help or where each of us is coming from.
I consider myself to be a "religious" person but, frankly, I've found some of the posts that could be classified as "religious" to be inappropriate and of no value...to me. Others may have found considerable value in the same posts.
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I have tremendous faith and I believe in a higher power, I would not want to push my ideas on anyone and I guess it really is a matter of just taking what you need and leaving the rest. I am not offended by anyone searching for answers and finding them in whatever meaningful way that they can.
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Madeaa, the post was written to encourage those who put their faith in God. Such people cannot keep "religion" out of any aspect of their lives. I'm sorry if you found it offensive.
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I think we'd be better served if we kept the religion out of it, it creates problems just like politics. I agree, don't judge, we just do not know and as Shakespear wrote: There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
- Hamlet (1.5.166-7), Hamlet to Horatio
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We are experience caregiving differently. Actually, I have gone through several different stages of it myself over the past year. When I had my daughter here to help, caregiving was simply that had to be done. When my daughter was no longer here but I had several months off of work, caregiving was more emotionally challenging but I was in it for the long haul. Now with no support and an emotionally and physically draining job, caregiving is emptying of everything...my energy, my spirit and my soul. We can not ever judge another or truly understand what another is going through. Sending love to all.
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We have two major instances of caregiving in the New Testament. In one instance, a man named Simon was chosen to help Jesus carry his cross when Jesus was no longer able. Many of us do this for our parents when they are no longer able to carry their own burdents. The second instance is Jesus's account of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan paid someone else to care for the man who had been beaten on the road. It is a good Biblical reference to AL/NH care when the person was unable to do the caring himself.

In both instances there was man-induced suffering, but the suffering was made more bearable by the caregiver. And in both instances there was redemption.

Now, I am not a religious person, but if I were perhaps I would say that caregiving is a road to redemption for all involved. How we provide the care is not as important as finding love in it. If God is love, it makes sense to me.
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Thanks for posting this! I am having troubles with the fear factor, loosing my cool, feelings of being overwhelmed by it all. I keep turning to the Lord for help, but I also have the negative feelings. Purified by fire, boy, I don't think I'll ever be the person I was 4 weeks ago. Thanks again!
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As humans we want answers. Unfortunately, in this life we are not privy to them.
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I don't understand why God has to be omnipotent and omniscient, or why the world he created has to be perfect. It obviously isn't perfect, and I, for one, don't blame God or "original sin" for pain and suffering. Creatures eat other creatures to survive. It is what it is.

I think God loves me, but I also understand that I am just one of seven billion ants, certain to meet my end, not "special" except to a few people. Why should I be spared suffering? Not that I don't complain and moan and groan, but I accept my difficulties from a philosophical standpoint.

I was born and have to live here until I die. It makes sense to try to be happy. Loving people and doing useful work and finding beauty everywhere and laughing at almost everything seems like the best way to be happy. Who knows what will happen after I die?
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Whatever way you choose to make sense of things is fine with me. I personally do not prescribe to the belief in a vengeful, jealous higher power that doles out pop quizzes to test us. I do believe perhaps that life provides us situations that allows us to work out our soul issues and resolve our accumulated karmic debt, until we are free of attachment and debt. That's me, to each his own.
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We are tested. It is not only a one way street, caregiving
we are on this earth is to do good works, in testing we grow to understand.
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Since God is featured prominently in this discussion here's my 2 cents. People have many different Gods in trying to explain things that are hard to understand. Or they just accept what is as what is. But it is personally not acceptable for me to believe suffering is part of what a loving creator would want for his likeness. He may allow it, but the record of Jesus healing the ill, physically, mentally and spiritually would indicate that health is the purpose. Unlike Jesus we do not have the ability to heal all ailments, but we can help reduce suffering. And caregiving is sometimes a way to do this. And in the process we can develop qualities that shine like diamonds. But caregiving is not for everyone, and we must be honest about what we bring to the table. Just a sense of obligation will not make us equipped to be a caregiver. There are many ways to give care.
Not many of us will get out of this life without a few bumps.
The idea that God "takes" people, just doesn't fly since Jesus brought dead ones back to life.
When life seems too stressful, I just tell myself "I am just passing through; I'm on my way to paradise."
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I'm agnostic and chose this belief a long time ago. I believe in the golden rule, do unto others etc. I care for my elderly mother who has COPD is on oxygen 24/7 doesn't drive and has no friends. I have four siblings only one " helps " occasionally. I have had breast cancer, was accused of stealing thousands of dollars from my parents when I was helping take care of my dying father It turned out it was one of my siblings who stole the money and threw me under the bus for it. Even my mother was convinced I had taken the money and I forgave her and had her move next door to me so I could care for her. A religious friend of mine told me a long time ago GOD takes people because they are needed in heaven. I then asked her why GOD would have an airplane crash and kill a big group of people at one time. She had no answer for me.
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I don't get along with Milton's God who is supposed to be omnipotent and does/allows bad things 'for our own good'. But I find a lot of comfort and strength in the 'New Age' view: reincarnation, spirit guides, Summerland between trips to Earth, etc. Learning non-attachment, self-sufficiency, kindness, etc. Of course the yoga and meditation may be where the comfort really comes from!
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My cousin and I were talking about this very topic this morning. We all see God in our own way. We all have different needs, reasons and ways for taking care of our loved ones. Hopefully, it all comes from a place of deep love. However, in the end we have to do what is right for us so that we can be there for everyone in who depends on us in this life. All those who have responded to this feed have given some insight into the answer. It is so healthy to talk about these things.
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My Mom has dementia and is in a long term care facility. My wife and I...I have no siblings...decided it was the best place for her as we unable of giving her the 24/7 care she needs. We visit her twice a week and the visits are stressful for us but Mom loves them. On the way to see her I ask God to give me the strength to accept the visit and whatever may occur. Sure, I'd like to get a clue regarding the purpose of all this but I've yet to leave one of our visits without a strong feeling in my heart that all is as it should be.

Mom often confuses me with my Dad who's been dead for 40 years. This is probably the hardest thing for me to deal with but if it takes her mind to a happy time in her life, I'm good with that.

Sometimes I'll spend a few minutes talking with other resident. From the looks of the sign-in logs, there aren't many visitors. Sometimes I'll talk with the staff always making sure to thank them for all they do.

So "what's it all about?" The more I think about it the more questions I have. I just take it for what it is and try to make my time with Mom as positive as I can for her.
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after readingsome of the responses, I would like to to add to my original post. Some people have a hard time finding meaning in our suffering because they say a good God wouldn't cause suffering. It is my belief that while much of our suffering is of our own accord, and much more else is caused by the sinful nature of man in general, God can use any situation for His purposes. God created a perfect world. Disease started after the first sin. God didn't start it, but He is the ultimate healer. Some times through physical healing. Sometimes through emotional healing. Sometimes through death. But there is purpose in all things if you allow Him to work through it with you. I hope that inpores you today to continue running strong. Caregiving is not for sissies! God chose you because He knew that you are strong. And during the times that you do not feel strong, He will give you strength.
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This is an interesting subject and I think of it a lot. I wonder what has been the purpose of what I've gone through with my father and mother these past four years. I don't think it was to teach me anything, because God wouldn't bring such suffering down on two people in order to teach me something. If I learned anything about my parents and myself, it was just incidental to taking care of them.

One thing I've learned is the peace that comes from asking God for help and turning things over into His capable hands. Dealing with diseases that can't be cured taught me how small and inadequate I am. The other night I had a bad problem with my mother's laxative obsession. It created so much turmoil. That night I asked God to please take care of it and told Him thank you for handling it. The next day everything came to a head, was handled quickly, and is now over. God didn't magically cure things, but he used the circumstance and me to handle it.

Again, I don't know if there is any purpose to the suffering we see, or if it just part of being human. Animals also go through suffering on their journey to the bridge. We are not unique in that. We are different, though, in what we do when loved ones start their journey. I think the people who are most at peace with caregiving are the ones who learn to put everything in God's hands and just do what we can to make our loved one more comfortable while they live. I don't know if it will give us any merit points when we get to heaven. If we did it for reward, it wouldn't be the same thing. I do know that the person we care for will be less frightened because of us, and that is what matters.
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I enjoyed the uplift of most of the posts. We have been caregivers for MIL and FIL in apartment I built for them in our home. MIL is now scheduled for nursing home after she finishes rehab for broken rib. FIL will remain here, but use respite time in nursing home to get PT for himself and be with his wife. It's been tough, an understatement, getting to this point. I can't believe it only been a little over a year. Anyway, everything isn't black and white; understanding His plans the same; and all of this on earth isn't easy. If it was, the bible would only be one page.
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This is the question that's plagued philosopher's since the beginning of time. I'm convinced there's no right answer .. except your own, whatever it is. It's the right one for you.
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I'm a spiritual person but also a scientific one. I believe most of all in what I've actually seen and what I've seen has convinced me without doubt that there is more to this reality than we can perceive and forces at work beyond our comprehension. I have my favorite explanations for what that is, but at the end of the day it is satisfying to know that "this" is much more than it seems to be.
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Why do some of us care for our loved ones while the rest of our family stays away.....love, compassion, empathy, because it is the right thing to do, faith? Everyone does this for a different reason, yet we all need support as we travel through this lonely, isolated time. For me, I have always been a caregiver. As a little girl, I cared for the sick animals, cats, dogs, birds, calves. I chose to be a nurse, caregiving is what I do, it is an integral part of me. But there is nothing that prepares you for the challenges of caring for a loved one with dementia. The mental and physical exhaustion of caring for this lost soul. The anger, confusion, wandering, apathy.......the list could go on and on. Yet we continue on, trying to find a reason for the pain and suffering that is endured by both the loved one and the caregiver. There are some questions that we will never have the answer for, this is one one them. What is the purpose for pain and suffering, the deaths of a baby or child, abuse, crimes, war? I care for my mother because it is the right thing to do. Because, at the end of the day, I know that I have tried, I have done my best to help my mother navigate this disease that is destroying her mind, and hopefully, through the confusion and anger, given her some comfort and peace.
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Thank you all for this thread. It is nice to get a little deeper than what to do about bathroom issues (I know how important this is) but sometimes we need a little information for the soul also. I know that reading this thread has given me some courage to face today and know that I am not alone. As I have said before - I just miss my Mom.
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I think that there is purpose to the life of someone with dementia. We will never be able to get inside their brains to really know how they feel or think. The are providing their caregivers something however. We all know the patience it requires to do this job to say nothing about continued perseverance particularly when the family is in turmoil. It takes significant courage and determination to continue to do a job well especially whenever all know that the person we care for will never get better, only continue to deteriorate.

All of you caregivers, realize this, you are the only person that can do what you do do well, when actual rewards may never come. Our reward is knowing we do the very best we can each and every day. This requires a tremendous amount of strength, fortitude and courage.
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Also, I do not think it wise to prolong someone's suffering. Medical interventions are sometimes barbaric. I support comfort measures only. We all die anyway so why drag it out at the end?
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My purpose in caring for my MIL is to help her feel safe and comfortable and warm on this final leg of her journey home. We are all headed to the other side and we encounter many others along the way. On this part of her path (and mine) we are together.
My husband and I were devoted Christians and when he died, I struggled to find purpose to my life. We were a team and I didn't want to be without him. It's been 3 years and with the Lord's help I'm learning my purpose..................to give a little solace to other human beings along the way........till I go home...........where I will be with my husband again :)
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All I know is that I loved my husband when I promised to love him for better or worse. I am doing, and will do that to the best of my ability. I see no purpose in preserving life that has no meaning, such as I know my husband will reach in the next year or two. I will not give meds to preserve life. BUT, I will do all I can to keep him happy and comfortable. As far as I am concerned if he died today for some unknown reason, (heart attack or massive stroke), I would be thankful to God for his mercy, but God would not make me feel guilty for that. He loves us all and no, it is not his desire to see a human being in a condition with a brain full of holes. I hate that once in the Nursing home, they do all they can to keep someone alive even though as I said, there is no meaning to life for an advanced Alzheimer's patient. But I guess that is the problem. You can't do it all by yourself at the end and once in the home, their life will be extended as long as possible.
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" Most of what mortals would call providential is not; their judgment of such matters is very handicapped by lack of farsighted vision into the true meanings of the circumstances of life. Much of what mortals would call good luck might really be bad luck; the smile of fortune that bestows unearned leisure and undeserved wealth may be the greatest of human afflictions; the apparent cruelty of a perverse fate that heaps tribulation upon some suffering mortal may in reality be the tempering fire that is transmuting the soft iron of immature personality into the tempered steel of real character."
Urantia Book, 118:10:9
My point is this: Since this life is in essence a "shakedown cruise"(the initial voyage of a newly built ship, in which the flaws present themselves and are worked out / fixed if possible), your mother has done her shakedown cruise, and is starting the slow process of transitioning to the next phase of existence on the path God has planned for her. The "tempering of steel into real character" is what the caregiver is going through.
(I know it's profoundly changing me!)
To wrap it up: Whatever a caregiver's faith path, it is an opportunity for growth, if you let the experience be a teaching episode. Just don't forget that it's okay to be humanly imperfect; perfection is our goal in eternity....it's not our origin.
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i have a renter upstairs in my house. the old fellow is 82 yrs old and truly the salt of the earth. i was telling him this morning that i dreaded the hell out of pulling my stove out and doing some modifications on it. the old fellow smiled and said ' ya gotta do what ya gotta do' . so there it is, the meaning of life. no big mystery. ya gotta do what ya gotta do. no guarantees, no rebates. no offense intended for believers either. you also, gotta do what ya gotta do.
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