2024 FPC Directory Updates

Caring for Aging Parents

Posted by First Presbyterian on


Being in charge of parents’ care as they age is hard. It brings up all kinds of feelings and emotions, and nothing can really prepare you for this, especially if you have had very few conversations about your parents’ wishes and expectations. This was the situation we found ourselves in several years ago. As my parents were declining in health, my sisters (one here in Midland and the other in the Texas panhandle) and I found ourselves making almost daily decisions on their behalf for about 6 years. We struggled with each step of the journey together, and I was thankful we had each other as a built-in support system.

We were very blessed in that our parents made sure they had plans in place for their lives. Especially when it came to their future, their wishes were clear and their investments made them well-prepared for living expenses. But even with legal documents outlined, many personal and logistical details were not clear. Dad had heart disease he’d dealt with his entire life. Mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s but refused to speak to us about it. We had to make decisions and care for Mom and Dad as best we could until God called each of them home. Dad preceded Mom in death by 4 years and in those 4 years she had to be moved to different facilities 4 times as she declined. Each time we felt the move was necessary for her to have the best care possible, even though we knew her decline was inevitable and she would not heal from her disease.

Our choice of placing our parents in care facilities was made with lots of prayer and many discussions with each other and professionals. We had the experience of watching our grandmother decline with Alzheimer’s so we knew a little of what to expect. We read books and talked to doctors and the professionals in Manor Park. We talked to others who were going through similar experiences. As we struggled with each decision throughout the years, I feel extremely blessed to have gone through the experience with my sisters. The fact that for the most part we agreed at each step and that we were living it together was an immeasurable blessing.

As I reflect on this time it brings up feelings of sadness and hurts but also gratitude. I am thankful my parents lived well and modeled Godly faithfulness to us. I am thankful for the love and commitment they showed each other and modeled for others. I learned that many of life’s hurts and hard struggles will not be fully resolved this side of heaven and was able to make peace with that. While we all would avoid struggles if we could, God has shown me that my struggles can help others.

My mom often said “this, too, shall pass.” I find myself saying that as well these days and really believing it. It is also true that platitudes and statements of God’s presence and faithfulness and love will eventually help—you will grow into that realization over time if you allow Him to be with you. Faith in God’s presence is stronger than my feelings and emotions. God is stronger than my hurts. He is REAL—He loves us forever and His mercies are new every morning! Great is His faithfulness. These are truths I relied upon during that season and even today I cling to and remind myself of regularly.

My prayer for those in the midst of caring for parents or family members is that you will be able to find support, both physically and emotionally. I pray for those who are in the caregiving season of life to find rest. Rest from the daily constant needs, rest from the emotional struggle, rest from decision-making, and rest in the knowledge God loves your loved one too. May God be very near to those who are caring for ailing or aging loved ones.

If you're also in a season of caregiving, make plans to join us on Saturday, June 12 from 10:00-12:00 for a caregiver's retreat at FPC.

Caregivers Retreat