Respite Care

Douglas VanBronkhorst

READ : Galatians 6:1-10

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (v. 2)

Primary caregivers for Alzheimer’s disease patients are usually spouses or adult
children, caring for the victims in their homes. As the disease progresses, these people
desperately need support and help from their friends, family, and church. The most
important kinds of support are reminders they are not forgotten. The most important
practical help is respite care.

In the beginning, the Alzheimer’s victim can still function in the world, although only
with help from others. Eventually, though, it is far easier to just keep them home. It’s
also necessary to stay with them. They cannot be left alone lest they wander off or hurt
themselves. Thus the primary caregiver becomes a “shut in” as much as their loved one, but
with a healthy body and mind. At the same time the caring becomes an arduous, 24-7 job
involving feeding, dressing, bathing, and every other personal task we take for granted,
plus watching the loved one, all the time.

Could there be a more obvious burden that others should help bear? And all you need do
is make a call, write a note, or offer the caregiver a break. Take their place for a while
so they can shop, run errands, or go out with friends. You will have to take the
initiative. It’s hard for people to ask for such help, but incredibly meaningful when they
receive it.


Father, help me fulfill your law of love, with respite for those burdened by the care of loved ones.