By Kelly Carr
In our final installment of the family series, we look at caring for aging parents. What does life look like when roles have reversed—when the children become the caretakers of parents? What will happen or should happen when illness must be faced and end-of-life decisions must be made? How does one face this new reality?
My husband and I have both learned so much by watching both sets of our parents care for their own parents. We witnessed that it isn’t easy. But our parents have demonstrated amazing acts of God’s love by the way they’ve honored their own mothers and fathers.
It was different for each situation:
• For my grandmother, a nursing home was needed after she developed health problems.
• When she passed away, my grandfather lived by himself in his own home until he died. In his last years when he was unable to drive any longer, my parents and members of his church took him to the places he needed to go.
• My other set of grandparents moved into an assisted living setup and also relied on my parents to help provide for their needs.
• For my husband’s grandparents, three of them ended up living with his parents at different times in an apartment-like section of the home.
• During the last years for two different grandparents, my in-laws hired a nurse caretaker to come to the house each day while my in-laws went to work.
In each setting, our parents spent daily time calling, driving, caring for needs, helping with decisions, and lifting up their parents to the Lord in prayer.
In each of our articles in this issue, authors share personal stories of facing a variety of experiences during the inevitable aging of their parents. But the common theme you can see in each is love and devotion—the desire to honor their parents no matter what.
Reading these testimonies and seeing the examples of many people who care for their parents reminds me of this Scripture:
“But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. . . . Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:4, 8).
Wow—that says it. Several generations are called out to serve their elders. We all have a duty to our relatives. We are asked to repay those higher branches on the family tree. We demonstrate our faith in God by these deeds.
As we go through the various stages of our lives, may we honor the older generations who have provided for us, who have paved the way for our lives and faith to exist.