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How does your faith (whatever it is) impact your caregiving? Did it impact your decision to be a caregiver? Does it change the way you give care? How do you nurture it along with the demands of caregiving?

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I have a strong belief system .. it guides who I am and what I do with my life. It IS me on so many levels. I gave up the notion of a religious god many years ago and have chosen to define it differently. I *know* there's something 'out there' that's way bigger than anything I can imagine: and calling it god puts limitations on it (because my imagination only goes so far), so I stopped. I will often refer to 'it' as The Universe, as the infinite Universe is so far beyond my comprehension, it works, for me. Mostly, I live by guiding principles:

- Never assume
- Don't take things personally
- Be impeccable with my word
- Always do my best
- Don't reach for perfection, reach for excellence
- My world is my reflection
- Accountability starts/stops at my hand
- There are no accidents
- Every moment is a choice point
- Love, Laugh and Learn .. every day

Whenever I get down or weary or frustrated or angry, I can go any one of these principles and find a guiding light. It might sound like it's just a lot of work, but there's so much comfort for me in it.

LLL .. LadeeC
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I was raised a mainline Protestant by a southern mother who showed me by example that we must care for others. I became a semi-atheist as a young adult, but never "hated" God or religion, because I was never treated badly by religious people. Through Al Anon I started to believe in a higher power, and think about God pretty often as a loving guiding presence.

My therapist, a Tibetan Buddhist, has been enormously helpful to me in handling my depression. I have needed to learn that I am not always right. I have learned to examine my own behavior, and to be interested in the criticism of others, but not to take it to heart. I am working on feeling compassion more often, and recognizing that I am no more "special" than anyone else on the planet. I have learned to notice opportunities for joy and happiness.

I am trying to discard the entire concept of sin. I often need forgiveness. I try to forgive myself and others.
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Raised Catholic I have not practiced for years but am still very spiritual and am very, very grateful for the fabulous progressive, liberal education Catholic school gave me.

I take one day at a time, try not to obsess too much about a looming future that's full of financial worries...and the upside--I am not in the least bit frightened of dying. In fact, I pray I do not linger and live much past the age of 65.
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* sigh *
" staff " desires interaction in the community then ties our hands. mussolina wasnt that fascist and his populace hung him.
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dcoach .. links, except within this site are edited out by staff.
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Yes, my faith is everything to me. Without it I could not continue. My husband is 87. I am 80 and handicapped. I had a middle ear tumor which took away hearing in one ear and left me without balance. I can't go four steps without my walker. October first I had a stroke and still have symptoms of it. We do not have any help except his daughter, who has a bedridden mother to care for, so any help for us is limited to emergencies. We have a small farm in the Everglades which is going to rack and ruin because my husband can no longer do the work. I do what I can; otherwise it doesn't get done. He is an outdoor person, all his life, and except for disorientation spells, knows what is going on with his memory. He has shaking, dizziness and leg weakness that three neurologists haven't been able to diagnose. How can I put him away in some nursing home?

When they take me away against my will, he will end up in one, but not while I have a choice. He treated me like a queen for 22 years and not only morally but from desire, I have to do the same for him. I believe we are never given more to bear than we can handle, and I believe that there is no failure except giving up.

I have filled out forms that social workers bring here but they say there is a waiting list and I never hear back. It's not because we don't need help, just that no one offers any. I believe there is a reason for everything, and that all that happens to us is for our own spiritual good, and this keeps me going. My husband is teaching me to stick it out when the going gets hard (I haven't always done this), to have patience (not my long suit), to put someone else above myself, and to truly love. I thank God for these lessons but it sure is hard learning them.
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i care for my FIL 16hrs a day 7days a wk i love him but i do not like him i pray to jesus everymorning before i walk in the door to please help me. do whats best for Bill .than i ask God to please put it in his hands.i just no is going to be ok
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I was just answering another post and I realized it's the guilt that impacts my care giving... The old catholic guilt! So I guess my parents got what they wanted. All those years of parochial school and weekly mass paid off for them... I'm dutifully "honoring my parents"!
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It looks like the web link did not come through. Let me try it a couple of ways.
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My faith was taught to me by my precious grandmother, who died at 94 in 1988 and my mom who cared for her as long as she could and then put her in a loving boarding home where she thought she was with family. Now my mom has dementia, can't remember that I was at her assisted living yesterday, but can still call me when she is lonely and I try to go over at least every other day. I do everything except make her meals, even monitor her meds, but she still wonders aloud who put her things away, how do I know where things are, etc. I say "because I put them there and it's my job to know". I just told my husband tonight, "I'm in a place I don't want to be, but I wouldn't trust anyone else to do it for me". I take mom to church when roads are clear, and she feels up to going out. I go near my home but take her to a later service where she knows and remembers some of the people and they love her and are happy to see us. I resist asking for help but even phone calls are appreciated by both mom and me.
I've had to accept that I can't make mom happy, And have reminded her of the scripture that says "be content in whatever circumstance you are in" KJV.
She tries, I know. I thank God for strength and enough health to keep on going.
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My Quaker Meeting has been understanding of and supportive of the caregiving I have been doing with various family members. If I need help I can always request it. Quakers have what is called a 'clearness meeting' to help members make difficult decisions, and that is always available. I bring my mother to weekly Meetings and she is able to enjoy the time to worship and be with people who know her and love her. Many of the Friends have done similar things within their families and were able to point out some of the pitfalls to me as I went along. Quite often this takes the form of advice not to get too tired or work too hard, and to make sure I am taking care of myself. I believe if they thought I was not caring properly for my family members there would be some gentle loving feedback as well.
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I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me and I know that he will not burden me with more than I can bear...that is what keeps me going taking care of my 91 year old mother n law. I try to read my bible daily and take comfort realizing that the early Christians didn't keep asking for bad things to go away, they prayed for strength to deal with it. Mom's (MIL) been going downhill for a while now and each stage makes caring for her a little more difficult. As of now she can manage to get food from her plate to her mouth on her own but that ability is slipping away too. Other than that she either needs help or has to have everything done for her. The newest hurdle is that she can no longer support any of her own weight to transfer to her wheelchair. I am grateful that my husband is retired and be here to help do the heavy lifting...guess I need to pray for his strength too...
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My husband had Parkinson's and some dementia and I was up 12 to 20 times a night when he called me. What helped me the most - Be thankful in all circumstances.... - 1 Thessalonians 5:18. I would repeat 'be thankful' until the peace came - and it always did. I am thankful that I had the strength and good health to be able to take care of him so that he died at home - just where I wanted him to be. We were married 63 years and for that I am thankful. Oh - something else I found helpful - I kept a pencil and paper on the night table so I could keep a record of what he said because it's so easy to forget - and for that I am thankful because now that's our history. When I was happy - he was happy and more content - would I rather be the patient or the caregiver? I would rather be the caregiver. It was not easy but I have peace now and thankful that I was able to do it my way. Joy
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One of the responses above referred to people from you faith community helping you out. Does this happen for anyone else? If so, how? If not, why not?

One person mentioned being in a part of the country where participation in a faith community was not as common. Would it be helpful to find an online church community which could pray for/with you, engage you in dialogue, offer worship services, etc.? One church offering this can be found at

Does anyone use online resources to help them with matters of faith and spirituality?
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My faith gave me the strength to keep going. As for making the decision to be a caretaker - I did not sit and think about it. My husband had a massive stroke, which after months led to vascular dementia. He needed me and I was there for him. His stroke robbed him of his personal memory of the last 50 years, we were married for 46 years and he thought we were friends. He developed a fear of strangers - so I was his sole caretaker until the end. What he had forgotten I would tell him about. Our lives together, our daughter and our grandchildren. With other words I tried to make him feel loved, comfortable and safe. Yes, there were times, when I thought I couldn't go on for another day trying to be positive for him, not let him see me cry, although on the inside it is really a heartbreaking struggle to know he will never be well again, not knowing that we are a couple. There I turned to my faith, praying for strength to keep going, believing it was God's plan and in the end my husband would be relieved from his suffering and go to a better place - home to God. Your faith will be put to the test on a daily basis as the disease progresses. I don't think I would have been able to cope without my faith.
My husband is gone now and I still miss him terribly and again, my faith gives me the strength to keep going - one day at a time. I firmly believe when God calls me home we will be united again.
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My faith doesn't just impact my caregiving, it IS my caregiving.

Only by the grace of God am I able to look after my 95-year-old mother who has dementia. Doing this sort of thing is NOT my nature and the fact that I have adapted to it (or, I should say, remain in the process of adapting to it) is a miracle in itself.

I believe that when we are obedient to God's commands, that then attracts the grace which gives us the strength and peace to live a life we might otherwise find impossible.

Whatever our path to enlightenment, we must follow it faithfully, never wavering despite circumstances. I send blessings to all who struggle with this.
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What a beautiful answer, NotHisFault! It has inspired me, as the caregiver, from 5 hrs away for my parents, I am NOT doing day to day, but am their POA and pay the bills, handle the finances, supervise Dad's care in a dementia unit and monitor my mom's needs, who is still home alone, at her request, even though she has early dementia herself. AND...have a husband here with possible early Parkinson's himself....having lots of hip and back pain and starting to have mobility issues. I am a Christian and I pray daily and rely on the belief that HE will not give me more than I can handle. I have my days when I am just not sure I am capable of having three to 'care' for all at the same time, should my husband really have Parkinson's and progresses too fast! My parents are 88y (Mom) and 91y (Dad) and I am the only child left. If I can hang on until summer, one of our two daughters will be back living in AZ again, so will be able to help, though she will be in Phoenix area, while I am 5 hours away from both Phoenix and Tucson, where my parents are living. I realize that the day will come when Mom needs caregivers with her in the home, in order to stay there. We had caregivers with Dad until he could no longer stay home. I never expected the last years of my parents lives to go this way....and can honestly say, I am not looking forward to what will be if my husband does have Parkinsons either, but all we can do is pray, stay close to GOD, take one day at a time and ask for help when we need it! And, as you say, those who are believers at least know what eternity provides!
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I grew up very, very religious, but rejected it at the age of 10. I eventually moved to an area of the country where faith is a prominent thing (think flyover country). And while there I found a rather agnostic/all religions sort of faith to be very helpful to maintaining my mental balance. I had to move away and begin caregiving in this new area where faith is not big. I have found my faith decreased as a result and the effect has been that the caregiving has gotten a lot harder. I wish so badly I could move my "patient" out to flyover country but she refuses and I don't have the heart to insist. So I'm withering away (mentally, spiritually, etc.). I wish people out here had the same way of bringing God into their everyday lives that they have in the Midwest. It makes it so much easier to cope!

Great topic. I'd love to hear what other people have to say.
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My faith is extremely important to me as the full-time caregiver of my husband, who has later stage Alzheimer's. Not only do my personal prayers help tremendously, but since I don't have family nearby, the members of my Church (LDS) call regularly and offer to give me respite. Their service gives me time to run errands, get my hair done, etc. when I need it. The most important thing that my faith provides is the true knowledge that once my husband and I pass, we will be together again in the hereafter and he will be whole again and no longer have this horrible, unforgiving disease.
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