Caring for the Elderly: Whose Home?

by Pam Farrel @PamFarrel

In everything, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the prophets. Matthew 7:12 NASB

According to an AARP study, an estimated 43.5 million adults in the United States have provided unpaid care to an adult or a child in the prior 12 months (about 18% of the population.)  In six out of ten cases, the reason for the care is a long- term issue and not a short- term recovery situation.  I am in this caregiving situation right now as I write this article.

Proverbs 16:31 remind of the value of the elderly: “Gray hair is a crown of glory…”

Ephesians 6:2 echoes the Old Testament command to “honor your father and mother”.

When you find yourself in a “someone has to move” in order to keep the one you love safe and well cared for, here are a few questions to begin the discussion:

What are the desires of each party? (What do the aging parent(s) and the caregiving child and their spouse hope to have happen?)  It is important to have these conversations to listen to the heart of each side of the equation. Many families welcome the aging parents into their homes, often because they already have a strong close bond and relationship. If children are still in that home, then it is prudent to ask if the children can manage the stress of adding an aging member to the household. If you are already caring for a special needs child, have a mate deployed, or are dealing with a prodigal child, pray through what it means to bring a family member who needs care into your home.  Consider if your marriage will survive your role as caregiver.

What is the financial situation of the aging parent? What is the financial situation of the care giver’s family?

In some cases, the parent has planned ahead and has agreed to a move to a graduated care facility where they begin in an apartment with a little oversight from trained professionals, with the ability to graduate up to increasing oversight, care and meals, and finally up to a skilled nursing facility. These facilities are often very nice but can be very expensive – and if this type of care is selected, someone must foot the bill.

What move would keep the caregiver healthier?

Caregiving is rigorous. Initially nearly 50% of caregivers describe themselves as in strong physical health, but those who have been the caregiver for more than 5 years, only 20% describe themselves as healthy and strong. In some families, the children rotate in to help a parent who is staying in his or her original home, other times, it is mom or dad that travels to various relatives so the caregiving is shared.  The health of the aging parent is a major factor in these decisions, but the health of those extending care needs to be taken into consideration as well.

Who moved?

In our case, Bill’s dad is frail in body and his mom is frail in mind.  We knew Bill’s dad would be easy to integrate into our life and home. Bill’s mother on the other hand, refuses to move—or even talk about moving. Because our ministry of writing and speaking means we can live most anywhere, we moved near his folks to offer daily help.  However, what we have learned from other care giving friends who have gone before, each day is a new day, and God will lead step by step along the way.

Caring for the Elderly: Whose Home? – insight and wisdom from @PamFarrel on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

pam ferrel

About the author
Pam Farrel. author of 50+ books, is an international speaker and co-director (with her husband, Bill) of Love-Wise.comHer newest book is Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament: A Creative Bible Study Experience (co-authors Jean E Jones and Karl Dornacher) from Harvest House.

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Pam and Bill are the bestselling authors of Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti(and small group DVD series); Single Men Are Like Waffles, Single Women Are Like Spaghettiand the teen version: Guys are Waffles, Girls are Spaghetti.

Join the conversation: Are you in the middle of elderly care? Please share any tips you can give us!


Godly Disagreement

by Julie Zine Coleman @JulieZColeman

Years ago, my teenage son fell asleep at the wheel and sideswiped our neighbor’s parked car. Not huge damage, but an inconvenience to be sure. Since it was the middle of the night, he left a note. I saw my neighbors outside the next morning and walked over to apologize and assure them my son would come over after work to get the insurance details straight. Another neighbor was there, actually far angrier than the neighbor with the damaged car. Incensed at my son’s blunder, he blamed my lack of parenting skills for the incident. “When my boys are teenagers,” he stormed, “I will never allow them to be so careless and cause this kind of trouble.”

Good luck with that one. Obviously, he had not yet experienced the challenge of raising teenagers. Everyone is an expert on parenting… until they actually become parents. It is so easy to judge when you have never walked in someone else’s shoes.

Passing judgment without regard to your limited understanding of someone’s situation has become pretty common these days. On social media, a culture has developed in which judgment on others has become the norm—even within the Church. It’s so easy to leave a snide or angry comment, then move on. But words like that are not from the Lord.

Jesus called us to unity. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:5 NASB). When debate over issues accelerates into mud-slinging, we can inflict serious damage, on more than the other person. God intends to reveal himself to the world through the way his Church interacts. When we judge and condemn our brothers and sisters in Christ, our effectiveness as God-reflectors is seriously compromised.

It’s one thing to disagree with a doctrinal position. It’s another to assassinate character.

Is there a godly way to disagree within the body of Christ? Yes. But it involves a purposeful mindset.

1. Keep in mind how much you have in common with the one with whom you disagree. You were equally guilty and saved by the unmerited favor of God (Romans 2:4). You are both adopted children of the King with the Holy Spirit residing in you as a guarantee of your shared inheritance.

2. The Holy Spirit is at work in both of you to perfect what was started on the day of your salvation. Neither one has reached that perfection yet! (Philippians 1:6) But we can trust that the He will continue His work in us. Paul recognized this when he wrote the Philippians: “…If in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you” (Philippians 3:15 NASB). It is not up to us to convict people–state your position but then trust the Holy Spirit to lead them to His truth.

3. Just as you hope they will do for you, choose to give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Jesus told His disciples, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you…” (Matthew 7:12 NASB). You don’t want to be written off because of incorrectly assumed bad intentions or motivation. So extend that courtesy to them first.

Understand, like my angry neighbor, you have not walked in their shoes. We all carry baggage from the events in our lives. This person’s position or actions may well have been influenced by trauma or negative experiences you have never experienced. As Hillel, a rabbi who lived several decades before Jesus, wisely said, “Judge not your fellow man until you yourself come into his place.”

4. Stick to the issue at hand and resist the mud-slinging. We are on the same team! Our spiritual gifts were given to build up others in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7).When we go for the jugular, we don’t build up, but tear down. It is easy in the heat of the moment to forget the all-important goal of contributing to our brother’s growth.

5. Recognize the possibility you are (gasp!) in error. I’m embarrassed to admit just how many issues I have hotly debated over the years for which I now hold a different conviction. Humility is never a bad thing.

It’s OK to disagree. Iron sharpens iron. But make it a clean “fight”. When we purpose to interact in a godly way, we reflect an important characteristic of our heavenly Father: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36 NASB). And leave it to the Lord to do the judging.

“Therefore, do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts.” 1 Corinthians 4:5 NASB

Godly Disagreement – insight and encouragement from @JulieZColeman on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)


About the authorJulie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at and Facebook.

Does the Bible depict women as second-class citizens of the Kingdom? Jesus didn’t think so. Unexpected Love takes a revealing look at the encounters that Jesus had with women in the gospels. You will fall in love with the dynamic, beautiful, and unexpectedly personal Jesus.

Join the conversation: What have you learned about handling disagreement in a godly way?