The COVID pandemic has brought on another pandemic in our community; a pandemic of isolation, loneliness, feelings of being overwhelmed and helpless. These feelings are even more intensified by those who are the primary caregiver for a loved one. For many that are in these situations, days are filled with an endless multitude of responsibilities and tasks involved in taking care of a loved one. It is a labor of love as well as an overwhelming undertaking. Add to this the social isolation involved in the quarantine, and interaction with others is limited. No one can drop in to visit anymore. The caregiver is rarely able to leave the house. Caregivers fear exposure to the virus that may endanger their loved one if they leave their homes. It is no wonder that one can feel so all alone and exhausted by the responsibility.
The September issue of Psychology Today states that between 40-70% of caregivers suffer from depression and anxiety. Anger and irritability are also common. Plus, three-quarters of caregivers do not seek out medical care for themselves as often as they should. That is why the caregivers’ role is also associated with risk of developing high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.
Since the beginning of COVID, there has been a group of caregivers within the church community meeting weekly via Zoom to share in their challenges. As they share their trials and blessings in taking care of someone special in their lives, they realize that they are not alone. And they realize that the exhaustion, loneliness, and helplessness they may feel is not unusual.
This Zoom Caregiver’s Chat Group meets on Fridays at 10 a.m. A few months back, Jayne and I jumped on the Zoom chat to experience one of their gatherings. We were so inspired and impressed by their willingness to share their experiences and their commitment to support and encourage one another. They help each other out with sound advice and ideas in caring for their special loved one. They pray for each other. And they do so with great love and compassion.
This Caregiver’s Chat Group is a shining example of what Christians do when faced with a crisis. As people of faith, we take care of others during such times. We are united together by the love of Christ and walk through these challenging times together, trusting in God’s faithfulness. We are to do what Christ calls each of us to do. To be in ministry. To share the message of hope through Jesus Christ. To shine the light of Christ all around us.
Those of you who have the noble task of taking care of a loved one—know that you are not alone. There is a support group here at the church that would love to have you join them. If you are interested or would like some more information about the group, contact Candi Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org. You do not journey alone. Galatians 6:2 (NRSV) tells us to “bear one another’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.”