Every family member or friend who has dementia is Jesus on his cross. That man, that woman whose brain is being stripped of the life it once had is Jesus stripped of his clothing to be crucified. Those who can no longer handle their finances properly, no longer remember to take their pills on time, no longer bathe themselves, are Jesus nailed to the cross.
Holy Spirit, help me to look past what is so irritating about them to see Jesus suffering in them.
Holy Spirit, help me to separate from this disease their past sins and my memories of their shortcomings, and to forgive them for the past and not hold today’s deteriorating brain against them.
Holy Spirit, help me to remember that I am serving Jesus when I am dealing with someone who has dementia. Be my strength, Lord Jesus, to help You carry their cross. Father, forgive them, for they truly do not know what they are doing.
Holy Spirit, help me to accept the reality that the problems I am having with them today are caused by gaps in their brains, and as those gaps continue to increase, provide me with Your ability to bridge those gaps. But when I fail, help me to know that You are pleased that I have tried, lessening the sting of the failure.
Although it may be difficult for me to feel compassion for someone who is mistreating me through their dementia-driven anger and accusations, maybe even through eyes that never saw me the way I wanted them to, help me, O Lord, to feel Your peace as I minister to You by caring for them. And as You help me to see Your suffering in them, also give me eyes to also see You as One who is caring for me. Help me to become more aware of how much You care about me.
Thank You, my God, for Your closeness and compassion and for Your supernatural help.
© 2015 by Terry A. Modica
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12 Steps for Caregivers
1. Although I
cannot control the disease process, I need to remember that I
can control many aspects of how it affects my loved one and me.
This reminds me of the Serenity Prayer.
2. I need to take care of myself so that I can continue doing the things that are most important.
3. I need to simplify my life so that my time and energy are available for things that are really important at this time.
4. I need to cultivate the gift of allowing others to help me because caring for my loved one is too big a job to be done by one person. I appreciate it, folks! Even listening and prayers.5. I need to take one day at a time rather than worry about what may or may not happen in the future. This is so true. the Lord has come through for me in the past and He is in our future.6. I need to structure my day because a consistent schedule makes life easier for me and my loved one.
7. I need to have a sense of humor because laughter can help put things in a more positive perspective.
8. I need to remember that my loved one is not being “difficult” on purpose. Rather the behavior and emotions are distorted by the illness.
9. I need to focus on and enjoy what my loved one can still do rather than constantly lament what is gone.
10. Increasingly, I need to depend upon other relationships for love and support.
11. I need to remind myself frequently that I am doing the best I can at this moment.
12. I need to draw upon any higher power that I believe is available to me.
12 Steps for Caregivers from Farran and Keane-Haagerty, American Journal for Alzheimer’s Care & Related Disorders & Research, Nov./Dec. 1989.