Posted: 6/15/17 at 9:25pm. Post by Tony Brooks.
Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go. (John 21:18 NIV)
There will come a time when all of us need help and support. For my generation, this is the time. For those who are ages 40-60, many are trying to care for children or grandchildren or they are providing support to adult children while trying to care for aging parents at the same time. Yes…this is called the sandwich generation. Some are dealing with health issues as well while trying to care for everyone else.
What does the church offer this generation? Too often it is higher expectations to lead and serve the congregation with no thought about the stress they are under. What can you do to help? Here are some ideas:
One: Start a class/small group for this generation. They need emotional, physical and spiritual support from their church. Find ways to support them and relieve some stress. Have someone from the Center for Aging come in to talk about things they offer. Katrina and I were blessed when the Center for Aging in Rome, GA had a service where her mother was transported three days a week at their facility for 4-5 hours for fellowship, games, and lunch for a minimal cost. What does your agency do? Let the sandwich generation know.
- Provide emotional and spiritual support. In Romans 12: 15 states: Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. (NAS) How are you doing at encouraging and walking alongside this generation?
Two: Have a class/small group adopt the sandwich generation. Many of this generation have both parents working. Here are some ways to help:
- Have someone sit with their elderly parent once a week. Sitters are expensive! Though my mom has someone there three days a week, and my sister checks on her on the weekend, it would help to have a church member stop by on other days around 10 a.m. to make sure she has eaten breakfast and taken her medicines. (I am 10 hours away, and am so grateful for my sister!)
- Pray for them. Let them know you are praying for them, their parents and children. Provide an encouraging note twice a month from someone in the class.
Three: Set up a transportation team. Have a group who is retired and in good health volunteer to take aging parents to doctor’s appointments, grocery stores, pharmacies and hair appointments. You may be surprised at the relief. When they take off work with mounting bills, the stress is higher. This could be a ministry to all including the ones volunteering.
Four: Help the sandwich generation with children or grandchildren. Many of the adult children are far from parents and grandparents due to their vocation. Understand their stress. Pray for them. Encourage them. Develop community with them, and help them thrive.
- Help them with simple things. Many make a move quite often even in the same city. Volunteer to help them move. Parents who are wanting to be there, but caring for their parents, and working may not be able to do so.
- They need adopted parents and grandparents. Share love and skills with them. Some may need help in little things like: learning to cook a certain regional dish, help with how to live on their income (with student loans), or even how to take care of their car. What you will discover is the blessings you will receive on ways they can help you!