Caring for Caregivers
Our aging population has become a frequent topic of conversation. Due to increased longevity and aging of baby boomers, the population of older adults is increasing. Over 32 million individuals or 13% of our national population is over the age of 65. Approximately 68,000 residents of Richland and Lexington Counties are over 60 years of age. This population is expected to double over the next 25 years.
In 1990 research noted that 55% of members of Presbyterian churches were over 50 years of age, those individuals are now many years older. As individuals are living longer, families, churches, nursing care facilities and communities at large are faced with increased demand for caregiving. The emotional, physical and spiritual toll on caregivers and family members is enormous.
Our purpose is to support caregivers, those people who assist aging and ill loved ones and enable them to stay in their homes. Most of the people who provide care and support to elderly spouses or parents are between 45 and 70 years of age. While the caregivers usually act out of love and commitment, their service often exacts a significant emotional, spiritual and physical toll. The Christian Counseling Center has created several resources to support caregivers in our community. These include counseling, seminars and workshops, which provide education about caregiving and aging, suggestions for community assistance, and encouragement housed in a spiritual framework so that God is always at the center.
The focus of our efforts is nurturing caregivers within their own church bodies . Research indicates that over 70% of older adults were more willing to attend social service programs in their places of worship than in social service agencies. This same study noted that not only those who are regular churchgoers but even those who do not attend frequently are willing to use church-based social services.
The Christian Counseling Center recently received a grant for the specific ministry of Caring for Caregivers allowing us to make available these educational and supportive resources. Through this program we desire to better equip the body of believers to serve one another as Christ has called us to do.
Educational Workshops and Seminars:
The Impact of Stress & Emotions on Caregivers – The majority of caregivers report receiving a great deal of satisfaction from helping their aging or ill family members. However, caregivers also report intense feelings of frustration, anger, sadness, exhaustion, helplessness, worry, impatience and guilt. Daily tasks may leave them feeling isolated due to limited involvement with family, friends and God. Some would describe caregiving as an emotional roller coaster. This class addresses the reality of the constantly changing emotions, the symptoms of burnout and ways to handle emotions and care for self in accordance with Scripture.
Understanding Changes in Family Roles – Aging or illness may limit a person’s ability to follow through with traditional activities within the family. For example, a man may not be able to oversee home repairs or finances or provide leadership. A woman may not be able to grocery shop, cook, clean the house or provide emotional nurturing. At times, people have referred to the often difficult task of children becoming parents of their parents. Other family members, while preferring the status quo, may be forced to change their roles within the family to insure the ongoing operation of the family. This class addresses how to handle these changes while maintaining the dignity of the older or ill person.
Mending Family Relationships – Crises brought on by the decline or illness of parents bring family members together to solve problems. When family members come together to work through issues under the pressure of finding answers quickly, they bring in their history of relating, including any unresolved conflicts. Otherwise stable relationships between spouses, between parents and children and between siblings may be affected. Resolving current problems may be affected by events in the past as well as issues the adult children face in their own lives and families. This class will offer suggestions on understanding family dynamics and learning cooperative skills in the face of pressing needs for decisions.
Decision Dilemmas – Too Many Tasks, Only One You – Caregivers face many difficult decisions because they often must choose between very different options. Sometimes they must balance their own personal needs with those of the care recipient. Decisions may include: holding on to the person vs. letting him or her go, rushing to make memories vs. maintaining the normal flow of activities, offering assistance vs. promoting independence, communicating feelings vs. keeping them to oneself or being in denial, and reassigning family roles vs. maintaining the status quo. This class will assist caregivers in recognizing their decision dilemmas and offer guidelines on how to respond to them, realizing some are not solvable.
Utilizing Community Resources – Caregivers can become so mired in the daily needs of caregiving that they fail to access obtainable resources. There are numerous community and government sponsored programs designed to assist caregivers of the elderly and chronically ill. Since they provide assistance to different situations and circumstances, it is helpful to have an idea on where to start and encouragement not to give up pursuing what is available for use. This class will provide suggestions on assessing needs and then where to start looking for help in meeting them.
Circumstances of Aging and Chronic Illness touch every family member. This Biblically based ministry provides guidance and solutions.
We offer a variety of specific groups for people with different struggles.
The Boundaries Workshop is a 10-hour therapy experience designed to lay a foundation for understanding the basic concepts of boundary setting.
Our purpose is to support caregivers, those people who assist aging and ill loved ones and enable them to stay in their homes.
GriefShare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences.
Individual counseling and separate therapy groups for men and women seeking recovery from sexually compulsive behavior.
1500 Lady Street
Columbia, SC 29201
St. Andrews Office
Located in St. Andrews Presbyterian
6952 St. Andrews Road
Columbia, SC 29212
Located in Crossings Community Church
2831 Clemson Road
Columbia, SC 29229
Located in Westminster Presbyterian Church 230 Alice Drive Sumter, SC 29150