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2018-03-09 digital edition
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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2019 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved. 


March 9, 2018  RSS feed
Rabbinically Speaking

Text: T T T

Caring for the caregiver

By RABBI AARON M LEVER, BCC Gulfside Hospice and Pasco Palliative Care

According to the 2015 study “Caregiving in the U.S.” conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the AARP Public Policy Institute, nearly 40 million Americans provided unpaid care to an adult in the last year, and people caring for a spouse or partner provided an average of 44.6 hours a week. The study found that 40 percent of caregivers are male and that nearly 1 in 10 caregivers is 75 or older. The study indicated that 40 percent of caregivers report providing a high burden of care, and when asked if they had a choice in taking on their caregiving role, 50 percent of the respondents said “No.”

From my experiences as a chaplain, I have seen the challenges family members face who are caring for a loved one with a life-limiting illness. Caregiving is hard. It can be physically and emotionally demanding. Sometimes caregivers feel trapped by their circumstances. They lose the ability to enjoy their own lives as they become consumed caring for another. Caregiving can be stressful and exhausting, and sometimes can feel interminable. Sometimes caregivers feel resentful for the burdens that have been placed upon them, and then they feel guilty for feeling these very human emotions. Quite often caregivers suffer in silence as they struggle to do all they can to help their loved one. Without adequate support, caregivers can become isolated and alone.

Debbie Perlman,z’l, was a composer of modern, original Psalms and the Resident Psalmist at Beth Emet The Free Synagogue in Evanston, IL. While I do not disregard the traditional Psalms from the Bible, her heartfelt writings offer sacred insights into many life experiences. In her book Flames to Heaven: New Psalms for Healing & Praise, Perlman wrote a Psalm for Caregivers that I have found to be particularly meaningful. For those of you who may be struggling as you care for a loved one, may the words of Debbie Perlman bring you comfort and hope:

For the Caregivers

Show me how to offer hope.
Open Your hand with the colors
of faith
That I might begin to fill in spaces
To strengthen another’s life.

Show me how to offer comfort.
Point out Your nesting place,
Feathered against the adversities
That wound those I love.

Show me the direction
When I am lost,
Searching to help
But finding no paths.

Show me tolerance,
When I weary of helping,
And a long dreary day
Stretches toward a restless night.

You place before us life and love;
Show us endurance.
You place before us healing
and hope;
Show us persistence.

Reach deep within me, Eternal
And bring my strength to
Pull it around us:
Let it radiate with Your power,
Let it guide our way.

Rabbinically Speaking is published as a public service by the Jewish Press in cooperation with the Tampa Rabbinical Association, which assigns the column on a rotating basis.

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