In 2018 there were a reported 65 million family caregivers in the Unites States. And that number is expected to grow as a large portion of the country’s population ages. Being a caregiver for a family member is a beautiful role, but it is not an easy one. Caregivers need support, but too often it is not easy to find.
Recently on The Inner Life® a listener named Amy called in to share how the Holy Spirit helped to nourish her as a caregiver, and how the Spirit inspired her to do what she can to pay it forward and nourish other caregivers in need.
Amy explained, “I’ve been a nurse for over 20 years, and I take care of the elderly in skilled nursing in assisted living, independent living, home care and hospice. I feel like there’s such a need to take care of caregivers. There’s an enormous amount of support for bereavement after the passing of someone, but caretakers who still have all the responsibilities, they sometimes get overlooked.”
Feeling the need to offer resources and support to caregivers, Amy said that she felt lead by the Holy Spirit to an organization called Nourish for Caregivers. This faith-based ministry offers resources to support the practical, emotional, and spiritual needs of family caregivers. Nourish offers practical resources for navigating difficult decisions, but it also points to resources that offer hope, spiritual renewal, and consolation. Nourish points caregivers to resources such as Relevant Radio®, Radio Maria, and Sagacity.Care that offer everyday guidance and hope to those caring for a family member.
Father Daniel Schuster, that day’s guest on The Inner Life, said that it is no coincidence that Amy felt lead by the Holy Spirit to an organization like Nourish. He said, “You’ve touched upon the personality of the Holy Spirit. As Jesus has revealed, the primary function of the Holy Spirit is to console and to comfort. And the consolation of the Spirit, whether it be the consolation for a particular situation of grief, or for the larger longings that we have for heaven, and the longings that we have that are unfulfilled. This is the Holy Spirit. So caregivers have a particular need for that, to seek that consolation.”
Fr. Schuster pointed out how necessary it is for caregivers to have those spiritual resources, such as Relevant Radio programs, that they can access anytime, anywhere. A caregiver’s spiritual needs can often be ignored, but they are vital to everyone’s health and well-being. Fr. Schuster explained, “If they don’t know God, if they don’t know the Spirit, they might end up looking for that consolation in the wrong places, or burning out, or getting hurt.”
Amy agreed with Fr. Schuster, explaining that from her experience in working with caregivers, it is so easy to burn out if you don’t have a source of inspiration, nourishment, and guidance. She said, “The unfortunate consequences of caregiving is that you have so much on your shoulders. You have the legal, financial, medical, real estate, and you have all sorts of issues that are going on at this time of life. And if you can pray before you make those decisions and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you, how much clearer the path becomes.”
Amy shared that she was so excited to discover Nourish that she felt lead to share this ministry with others. She is starting the Nourish program in her hometown of Philadelphia, to offer that hope, support, and consolation to other caregivers in her area.
“This is just a really wonderful study and program that I hope catches fire throughout the country,” Amy said. “I would just ask that you keep us in your prayers and hopefully the study will be able to grow.”
Find out more about Nourish for Caregivers by listening to the full conversation with Amy below: