February 5, 2009
The path to healing
The February 2009 issue of The Lutheran has an essay titled "The calling of caregiving" by Lois D. Knutson, an ELCA pastor serving as a chaplain at a retirement community. She begins the article by telling how she became involved with her mother, first attending medical appointments, then running errands together, and generally becoming more involved in her mother’s life. This, Knutson says, is a common story among families with aging loved ones, even when they choose or need to enter a retirement community or nursing home.
The article cites information from the National Family Caregivers Association, such as that 59 percent of the adult population in America are caregivers or anticipate being family caregivers in the near future. Nearly two-thirds of Americans under age 60 think they will be responsible for elder care in the next ten years. Five million of these caregivers do so from long distance, such as out of state.
The thrust of the message is that caregiving is a spiritual calling in her view. She suggests that the perspective one has as a care giver makes a huge difference, and that seeing her helping her mother as a spiritual calling let her see the bigger picture.