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'Dear Friends' January 2010

Week of January 4, 2010
  

The After-holiday 'Blahs'

Dear Friends:

      The twelve days of Christmas (officially) continue till January 6 but, for most of us, the holiday -- and holy day -- season is over. Tree down. Lights and decorations put away. Thank-you cards . . . well, maybe not written yet but . . . .
       The stretch from Thanksgiving through New Year's can take a toll on caregivers and care-receivers. Long-distance caregivers returned to Mom or Dad and may have been startled by the changes. Local caregivers, perhaps offered a bit of a respite when the out-of-towners came, now resume their usual duties, but with their care-receiver not as peppy and positive as he or she was when visitors were there.
       Just as most of us need a few days to "rest up" after returning from vacation, so too with you and your loved one as you both settle in after the holidays. That's why it's important to cut him or her -- and yourself! -- some slack. Globally (the world) and locally (your situation) life can seem bleak if not overwhelming when you're tired. As much as possible, go slowly for a little while. Don't assume you can set the same pace you were setting in mid-November. Not right away. Even more carefully than usual, pick and choose what needs to be done now and what can wait.

- - -

       Thank you again for the wonderful, and ongoing, response to this year's Annual Appeal for the Friends of St. John the Caregiver. As you probably know, FSJC's programs include YourAgingParent.com, CatholicCaregivers.com and our membership organization.
       You can find a copy of our Annual Appeal letter here. And there's a donation form here. You can also donate on-line.
       We invite you to donate. Your contribution does make a difference and it's truly appreciated.

 - - -

          Please join us in welcoming the newest member of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver: Patricia C. of Washington. Please keep her and her intentions in your prayers. She has promised to pray for you and yours.
       Again this week we cordially invite you to join the Friends of St. John the Caregiver, too. (FSJC's programs include YourAgingParent.com and CatholicCaregivers.com.) You can find out more about becoming a member here.
       No meetings, no dues. All we ask is that you pray for caregivers and those receiving care. Our members include caregivers, care-receivers, and those who support both (including quite a few former caregivers).
       You can:

        sign up on-line here
       
        or call us toll-free at 1-800-392-JOHN (5646)
      
        or print and mail an application form.

       God bless you!

                                                          Monica and Bill

To contact us
To join FSJC
To make a donation
To view or make prayer requests
Materials order form
Past "Dear Friends" notes
"Among Friends" quarterly newsletter
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week of January 11, 2010
  

My Routines and Your Ruts

Dear Friends:

      A lot of us may talk about our love for the new and the exciting but, my!, how most of us really prefer the familiar and the routine. It seems that we human beings like to shake things up
. . . a little bit. But not too much!
       It can be helpful to keep that in mind when it comes to your care-receiver.
       It may be why, amid all the changes and challenges he's has been through, he really wants to have that nap from 1 to 3 each afternoon, or go to the same little diner every time you suggest lunch out. (It's why he orders the same meal each time, too.)
       It may be why she keeps using store-brand instant coffee despite that fancy gourmet blend of "real coffee" you got her for Christmas, or why she so looks forward to her regularly scheduled visit to the beauty parlor to get her hair done. (And, of course, that appointment is with her hairdresser and not someone else who also works in the shop.)
       Now it could be the lunch or the coffee aren't perfect but . . . to use a expression that popular among some . . . "better the devil you know than the devil you don't."
       Or, to look at this from a different angle: A routine is a rut that I like.
       What you prefer to do day after day, week after week, year after year, sounds to me like a rut.
       What I prefer to do day after day, week after week, year after year, I know is a routine.
       When it comes to your care-receiver and his or her routines (ruts!), you're wise to to tread lightly. Typically, care-receivers have had to give up control and choice in so many areas of their lives that when they're able to have some control and make a choice, they relish the opportunity.
       If that habit -- a third name for a routine or a rut -- isn't healthy (continuing to ignore a doctor-ordered restricted diet, for example), you face the double challenge of encouraging him or her to break it . . . without your becoming a nagging caregiver.
       And if that habit is a good one (or, at worst, harmless), your little bit of self-sacrificing is to help make that happen no matter how much you detest that diner or how miffed you are that the unopened bag of gourmet coffee remains tucked away in the back of her kitchen cupboard.
       "His" meal and "her" coffee are more than a lunch or a drink. They're a little bit of "him" still being "him." Of "her" still being "her." And you . . . are helping make that possible.

- - -

       Thank you again for the wonderful, and ongoing, response to this year's Annual Appeal for the Friends of St. John the Caregiver. As you probably know, FSJC's programs include YourAgingParent.com, CatholicCaregivers.com and our membership organization.
       You can find a copy of our Annual Appeal letter here. And there's a donation form here. You can also donate on-line.
       We invite you to donate. Your contribution does make a difference and it's truly appreciated.

 - - -

          Please join us in welcoming the newest member of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver: Susan O. in North Carolina and Vivian B. in Puerto Rico. (Our first member from there!). Please keep them and their intentions in your prayers. They've promised to pray for you and yours.
       Again this week we cordially invite you to join the Friends of St. John the Caregiver, too. (FSJC's programs include YourAgingParent.com and CatholicCaregivers.com.) You can find out more about becoming a member here.
       No meetings, no dues. All we ask is that you pray for caregivers and those receiving care. Our members include caregivers, care-receivers, and those who support both (including quite a few former caregivers).
       You can:

        sign up on-line here
       
        or call us toll-free at 1-800-392-JOHN (5646)
      
        or print and mail an application form.

       God bless you!

                                                          Monica and Bill

To contact us
To join FSJC
To make a donation
To view or make prayer requests
Materials order form
Past "Dear Friends" notes
"Among Friends" quarterly newsletter
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week of January 18, 2010
  

Caregiving Crosses Cultures, Races and Borders

Dear Friends:

      Here in the United States banks and federal offices are closed today, Monday, Jan. 18, to mark Martin Luther King Day. That national holiday has us thinking about our multicultural, multiracial country and its many multicultural, multiracial families. We know that in family, in every family, there are caregivers and care-receivers.
       Caregiving crosses cultures, races and borders. And in each tradition, each custom, each set of particular circumstances, it's filled with challenges and blessings. At times it's an indescribable honor. At times it's an overwhelming set of tasks.
       In our work with the Friends of St. John the Caregiver, we've given presentations in urban, suburban and rural parishes. Some of those communities were very well off. Others were struggling financially. Still, in each, there were caregivers who felt alone; who felt frightened; who felt they were, at best, just getting by.
       Over the past five years (we launched YourAgingParent.com in 2004), we've heard from caregivers from around the world. Each had a unique story to tell. And each told the same story.
       Caregiving is universal and a caregiver -- no matter the culture, race or geographic are in which he or she lives -- benefits from other people praying for him or her. Praying for that person's loved one.
       That's why we so appreciate the members of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver who have promised to do just that. Just as caregivers' needs circle the globe, so now do prayers for those caregivers.
       And that's why we encourage you to join the Friends of St. John the Caregiver. As we write, week after week, no meetings, no dues! The only requirement is a promise to pray for caregivers and those receiving care.
       (This week, FSJC member or not, please keep in your prayers the caregivers and care-receivers in Haiti.)
       
You can:

        sign up on-line here
       
        or call us toll-free at 1-800-392-JOHN (5646)
      
        or print and mail an application form.

       God bless you!

                                                          Monica and Bill

To contact us
To join FSJC
To make a donation
To view or make prayer requests
Materials order form
Past "Dear Friends" notes
"Among Friends" quarterly newsletter
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week of January 25, 2010
  

Endless Love -- Despite Some Impatience Now

Dear Friends:

      Even if you aren't all that familiar with Scripture, you'll  probably recognize what's going to be the second reading at next Sunday's Masses (January 31). It's 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13 and it talks about love being patient and kind and never quick-tempered and, odds are, as a caregiver sometimes you are impatient. Sometimes your tempter does flare. You can't "bear all things" and "endure all things" and so you feel guilty that you aren't the "perfect" caregiver you really want to be.
       Three points:
       First, take a minute or two and read about "caregiver guilt."
       Second, don't lose heart because you get impatient. We feel safe speculating that every caregiver does, at one time or another. (At least every caregiver who has ever shared his or her story with us!) That doesn't mean you don't deeply love your care-receiver. It means you're human.
       And third, don't get so distracted feeling bad about the beginning of the reading that you miss what St. Paul is saying at the end.
       "At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror." (And first-century mirrors were horrible when it came to reflecting an image!) More is happening -- more goodness, more blessings, more graces -- than you can realize. You're playing a central role in those things happening. (God invited you to accept that role, that vocation, and you said "Yes!")
       And "at present I know partially." As a caregiver, you don't have all the answers for taking care of your care-receiver. You don't have all the answers for the very tough questions your care-receiver may have for you. ("Why do I have to suffer?" "Why doesn't God take me now?")
       Someday you, and your loved one, will clearly see. Will know. And on that day, and every day that follows, the love you now continue to demonstrate -- to live -- will echo through all eternity because, while "faith, hope, love remain, these three; the greatest of these is love."
       Through all eternity, your care-receiver is going to hear -- and know -- the many ways you're telling him or her "I love you."

- - -

       Please join us in welcoming the newest members of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver: Mary V. in South Carolina, Genevieve V. in Ohio, and Joan J-M. in Utah (our first member from that state!). Please keep them and their intentions in your prayers. They have promised to pray for you and yours.
       Again this week we cordially invite you to join the Friends of St. John the Caregiver, too. (FSJC's programs include YourAgingParent.com and CatholicCaregivers.com.) You can find out more about becoming a member here.
       No meetings, no dues. All we ask is that you pray for caregivers and those receiving care. Our members include caregivers, care-receivers, and those who support both (including quite a few former caregivers).
       You can:

        sign up on-line here
       
        or call us toll-free at 1-800-392-JOHN (5646)
      
        or print and mail an application form.

       God bless you!

                                                          Monica and Bill

To contact us
To join FSJC
To make a donation
To view or make prayer requests
Materials order form
Past "Dear Friends" notes
"Among Friends" quarterly newsletter
 

 

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