Our choices are important. They define who we are and demonstrate what we believe. From our earliest days until our final hours we live from one decision to the next. If those who raised you did their job well, your first choices were simple and relatively easy to make. If you insisted on wearing your favorite sandals to school in February, you learned that your toes would be freezing! Choosing to wash your hands frequently during cold and flu season helps you stay healthy when others are sniffling and coughing all around you. Choosing to exercise, eat well, and sleep enough can lead to a longer and more productive life as you age into your later years.
While some choices seem relatively insignificant, like what to eat for supper or which outfit to wear today, even these can have lasting effects. What if you decide to go casual and then get a call offering you an interview for your dream job? You might wish you had chosen something different when you dressed for your day. And then there are the hard decisions that must sometimes be made. When a loved one receives a frightening diagnosis or develops a chronic condition, your choice might be whether to become the family caregiver who gives care, or who finds and coordinates the necessary care through other means.
Becoming a hands-on family caregiver is a choice some people make because they are in a good position to take on this role. They have the physical stamina, emotional health, and financial stability to make this job their full-time occupation, and they are motivated by love, concern, and a willing spirit. Others may accept this responsibility because there is no other reasonable choice; they live primarily in isolation with few family members nearby and financial resources that are stretched too thinly to support hired help. Another group might be in a position to use their organization skills, and possibly financial resources, to coordinate care between other family members, friends and neighbors, and even professional caregivers through a home care agency.
The best choices for family caregivers are made from a pool of resources that have been developed over weeks, months, or even years of preparation for the possibility that care will be needed. Unfortunately, sometimes family members find themselves thrust into the caregiving position by circumstances beyond their control. If this happens to you, try to remember that you are not alone! There is a strength to be found in the choices you make, including the availability of resources in your community, your ability to manage your time effectively, and even the attitude you bring each day to your situation. Most importantly, remember that God is in control of your unique and very personal situation, so pray and ask for strength and solutions. He will hear you and will answer.
Chris and I hope you’ll join us this week here at Heart of the Caregiver and share your heart about how you approach living with (and making the best of) your choices.