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'Dear Friends' July 2013

Week of July 1, 2013
Prayer Requests 

Respecting Your Care-receiver's
-- Dwindling --Independence

Dear Friends:

     The celebration of Independence Day this week in the United States had me thinking about a Topic that looks at a care-receiver's personal independence. On the long list of "this isn't easy when it comes to caregiving" is balancing your loved one's God-given  right to self-determination and stepping in when and where he or she needs help.
     The topic begins this way:

     It shouldnít be a surprise that you and your loved one donít always agree on whatís best for him or her. No two people agree on everything all the time.
     When conflict arises, what can you do? As you make your decisions, itís helpful if you keep in mind these guidelines:
     ● Encourage and allow independence.
     A part of growing to adulthood is accepting, and sometimes demanding, independence. An illness or mental deterioration can mean the chipping away of that personal freedom. A goal for you as a caregiver is to delay or to minimize that erosion. Your role is to offer assistance that helps your loved one remain as independent as possible.
     That means you donít take over tasks or make decisions that person can still handle. For example, donít dress her in the morning just because it would take you only five minutes but it takes her twenty. Donít decide he needs a lifestyle that is as active as his health will allow when what he really wants is a quieter schedule because heís lived a long and hectic life and now he wants to rest. . . .

     You can read more here. And it's in a Word document format here and PDF here.

- - -

     Thank you so much to the many people who called and sent notes of condolences to me and the family after reading in the Spring-Summer edition of "Among Friends" -- the newsletter of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver -- that Monica had passed away in early January.
     We knew that many were already aware of this but some hadn't yet heard the news.

    - - -

    Again this week we cordially invite you to join the Friends of St. John the Caregiver! (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!

                                                  Bill

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

 

Week of July 8 2013
Prayer Requests 

A Papal Pat on the Back
to Caregivers

Dear Friends:

     Last week Pope Francis offered a pat on the back to caregivers in his homily marking the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle (July 3). Reflecting on Jesus' telling Thomas to touch his wounded hands and side (John 20:24-29), the pope said:

     "We find Jesusí wounds in carrying out works of mercy, giving to . . . the body -- the soul too, but, I stress, the body -- of your wounded brother, because he is hungry, because he is thirsty, because he is naked, because it is humiliated, because he is a slave, because he's in jail, because he is in the hospital. Those are the wounds of Jesus today. And Jesus asks us to take a leap of faith, toward Him, but through these His wounds.
     "'Oh, great! Let's set up a foundation to help everyone and do so many good things to help.' That's important, but if we remain on this level, we will only be philanthropic.
     "We need to touch the wounds of Jesus, we must caress the wounds of Jesus, we need to bind the wounds of Jesus with tenderness, we have to kiss the wounds of Jesus, and this literally. Just think of what happened to St. Francis, when he embraced the leper. The same thing that happened to Thomas: his life changed."

     When you "touch the wounds" of your care-receiver, when you offer that help in so many ways, you're doing what the pope describes and encourages. And, as you know so well, your life is changed.
     You can find more on the sermon here.

- - -

     This week we're so pleased to welcome Jeanne B., Jane G. of California, Red M. of Arizona, Cheryl W. of Georgia, and Chris M. of New Jersey as the newest members of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver. Please keep them and their intentions in your prayers. They have promised to pray for you and yours.
     And we
cordially invite you to join the Friends of St. John the Caregiver! (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!

                                                  Bill

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

 

Week of July 15, 2013
Prayer Requests 

Caregiving and Trusting God
'One Day at a Time'

Dear Friends:

     One piece of advice that helped me a lot during the last year of Monica's life, when we knew it was her last year, came from cousin. (Well, technically a cousin-in-law.) Her husband, my cousin Steve, died of cancer in 2005. In an e-mail to Monica and me in early 2012, she wrote: "I always try to take it one day at a time and to trust God."
     Yes, both can seem obvious but, as you probably have learned, each can be challenging.
     At times, trusting in God seems a bit like free-falling. At times, having faith in him isn't about "feeling" but about "choosing." It's deciding, today, right now, to trust him even when it can appear that most, if not all, evidence points to the contrary.
     In a sense, it's believing while seriously doubting. And that is powerful believing.
     The "day at a time" applies in a lot of areas of our lives but, overcome with the multiple demands of caregiving, the obvious can easily be overlooked. Yes, you have to think about and make plans -- as best as possible -- for what's coming up, but not become consumed by it.
     This video features Monica reciting a prayer by St. Francis de Sales that offers advice on focusing on today and trusting in our loving God.

 - - -

     This week we're so pleased to welcome Sharon K. of Florida and Linda C. of Missouri as the newest members of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver. Please keep them and their intentions in your prayers. They have promised to pray for you and yours.
     And we cordially invite you to join the Friends of St. John the Caregiver! (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!

                                                  Bill

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

 

Week of July 22, 2013
Prayer Requests 

Your 'Personal Pilgrimage'
as a Caregiver

Dear Friends:

     Over the past six months I've been reading a lot about grieving and have decided that, in many ways, this first year after Monica's death in January is like a personal pilgrimage. I've come to realize the same is true for caregiving.
     Both those words are important.
     It's personal.
     What you experience as a caregiver isn't identical to what your brother and sister may experience, even if all three of you are helping Mom or Dad. You bring your own skills, strengths, and weaknesses to it. You have your own other obligations and concerns. And you have a unique relationship with your parent.
     In the same way, if you're caring for your spouse your caregiving experience is one-of-a-kind because your marriage, your relationship, your spouse, is one-of-a-kind.
     And, of course, coupled with this is the fact that each care-receiver's needs are unique, as are his or her strengths and weaknesses.
     How is this experience like a pilgrimage?
     It's physically and emotionally demanding. For many caregivers, it's daily. It's moving into the unknown, which can be frightening. Along the way there are others -- family members, clergy, healthcare professionals, "veteran" caregivers -- who can offer tremendous and much-needed help but there can still be that sense it's the two of you, just the two of you, making this journey.
     Or the sense that it's just you alone because care-receiving is, in many ways, its own path.
     And, for many caregivers, there's a spiritual side to this. A turning to God, a growing closer to him, an increasing of the awareness of him in one's life right here, right now. Sometimes that new intimacy includes begging for his help. Sometimes it's screaming in anger at him. And sometimes it's surrendering to what's referred to as "his will," even as your will for your loved one is so very, very different.
     Members of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver around the world are praying for you and your care-receiver. Both of you remain in my prayers.

- - -

     This week we're so pleased to welcome Susan L. and Diane W. of California, and Cookie H. of Illinois as the newest members of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver. Please keep them and their intentions in your prayers. They have promised to pray for you and yours.
     And we cordially invite you to join the Friends of St. John the Caregiver! (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!

                                                  Bill

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

Week of July 29, 2013
Prayer Requests 

Caregiving Is a Family Affair

Dear Friends:

     One of the choices for today's Gospel on the feast of St. Martha is the story of her complaining to Jesus that she's handling all the work and her sister Mary is just sitting around. Jesus points out Mary's doing much more than that but I think another lesson, one for family caregivers, is that friction among siblings is nothing new.
     Even a saint can get miffed at a sister or brother.
     This is from a Topic titled "Caregiving Is a Family Affair":

     As a child you probably didn't like it when others compared you to your siblings. Now, as an adult caring for an aging parent, those similarities and differences can continue to influence the challenges your family is facing.
     You and your siblings each have a unique relationship with your parent. You've each played particular roles in the family. Those roles have been shaped over your lifetime. So itís not strange that we fall back into our family roles when everyone gathers.
     You each have unique abilities, life experiences and training. You each have your own way of handling things. Your own strengths and weaknesses.
     It's a small wonder then that when it comes to helping your mother or father, there may at times be some differences of opinion, even some friction.

     Caregiving Is a Family Affair includes some points to consider about dealing with family conflict over caring for an aging parent.

- - -

     This week we're so pleased to welcome Mary S. of Nebraska as the newest member of the Friends of St. John the Caregiver. Please keep her and her intentions in your prayers. She has promised to pray for you and yours.
     And we cordially invite you to join the Friends of St. John the Caregiver! (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!

                                                  Bill

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

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