Susan Mobley, the longtime parish nurse at Myers Park United Methodist, gets a lot of questions from parishioners about how to best handle situations with aging loved ones.
“We are seeing more folks who are needing to take care of their parents,” Mobley said. “They still have children, either teenagers or younger children, and they are needing to navigate where (their loved one) needs to be and how best to get there.”
Myers Park United Methodist Church will host a four-part series in March that addresses different aspects of caregiving, including the relationship between aging and spirituality.
For many Americans, caregiving is part of daily life.
The most recent statistics provided by the Family Caregiver Alliance show that about 29 percent of the U.S. adult population, or about 65.7 million people, are providing care to someone who is ill, disabled or elderly. Almost 15 million of those care for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease or a type of dementia.
Mobley said outlining a long-term plan for caregiving doesn’t always work, as caregiving situations are dynamic and can become very complex. Caregivers must make decisions such as when is the best time to move a loved one to a care facility and how to deal with finances, plus dealing with the emotion impact of a loved one aging.
As the baby boomers age, they struggle with loss of productivity, which is a valuable characteristic to that generation, Mobley said.
“Their value as a human being decreases in their mind, so how does their faith come into play with that?” Mobley said. “How, as you age, can you see yourselves as still being valuable to God and the community when you no longer can be productive?”
The Rev. Melanie Dobson, minister of faith formation, will discuss those questions in a talk on aging and spirituality on March 23, the fourth installment of the caregiving series.
The series, which is titled “Caregiving: Navigating The Journey,” will be held Mondays in March starting March 2.
The first discussion will cover caring for people with memory loss. On March 9, Jennifer Szakaly of Caregiving Corner and physical therapist Blake Brookshire will talk about caring for a loved one at home. On March 16, Hillary Kaylor of the Area Agency on Aging, part of the Centralina Council of Governments, will discuss selecting an appropriate care facility.
Myers Park United Methodist Church has been working with caregivers and people who need care for years. When someone needs help, such as running errands or getting to medical appointments, a team is formed to provide that assistance, Mobley said.
While some teams form for a short time, others have stayed together for eight or nine years to help the same person.
The church also has hosted a support group for caregivers, Mobley said, and it plans to host a series annually dealing with aging or end-of-life issues.
Marty Minchin is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email her at email@example.com.
Want to go?
All four sessions will begin at 7 p.m. at Myers Park United Methodist Church, 1501 Queens Road, Charlotte. The sessions are free and open to both church members and the public. No registration is required. For more information, visit www.mpumc.org.