Seventeen years ago, Rosalynn Carter began her landmark book on Caregiving with the following quote:
“There are only four kinds of people in this world:
· Those who have been caregivers
· Those who currently are caregivers
· Those who will be caregivers
· Those who will need caregivers”
As the former First Lady summed it up, “That pretty much covers all of us!”
Most caregiving for the chronically ill or disabled is done by family members and friends. Mundane routine chores like grocery shopping, cooking, housework and bathing are often exasperating for caregivers but even more challenging when there are physical obstacles turn mundane tasks into arduous efforts.
We have just wrapped up our most successful annual Faith in Action Weekend here in Sumter County. We once again partnered with our good friends at New Horizons Habitat for Humanity. The numbers were impressive:
· Over 100 volunteers
· Representing over 20 churches
· 11 projects
But perhaps more striking was when Alyssa and I realized that of the 11 families we were working with, 6 of them had household members with physical or mental health challenges. We built several wheelchair ramps, provided grab bars and performed other important work like tightening up some drafty houses that are were too expensive to heat in the winter and cool in the summer. The Greater Blessing repairs were either too complicated or too expensive for the families who were barely getting by financially with their Social Security disability income.
These are our neighbors and we introduced our area churches to their plight in hopes that we could make our partner families’ daily routines a little easier for both those receiving care and for the caregivers. There is an obvious connection between housing and caregiving and we need to keep the conversation going because as Mrs. Carter points out, caregiving hits close to home.