The Caregiving Boom Needs Spiritual Support

By calling or circumstance, millions in the “sandwich generation” feel the weight and cost of tending to aging relatives.

Shanoah Bruner is among the quarter of American adults who find themselves in the “sandwich generation,” raising children under 18 and supporting aging parents.

At her home in the Indianapolis suburbs, the 40-something mom lives with her husband, tween and teen daughters, mother-in-law, and biological father.

The caretaking role comes naturally to Bruner. She was raised in a family that regularly opened their home to others and served their church and community. Plus, she worked in assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing for over 20 years.

“I grew up in a very Christian home where, you know, people meant more than possessions,” she said. “So that’s just how I look at it, and it’s definitely rewarding for me, though that’s not the case for everybody.”

As baby boomers descend into their twilight years, their kids are taking them in or helping manage care from afar. Sixty-six percent of caregivers are women like Bruner, most of them in their mid-to-late 40s, who also work outside the home.

The demanding needs of caregivers and their loved ones offer believers a chance to provide support and gospel hope. Churches, nonprofits, and government and parachurch organizations have resources, and individual Christians can provide personal, tangible love in action.

In 2022, the first Bible study specifically for dementia caregivers was published. Some churches are implementing caregiver workshops. The Caregiving Support Network hosts a program to “sponsor a caregiver,” and there’s even a dedicated “Caregiver’s Prayer.”

Richard Gentzler Jr., an expert in ministry for aging adults, paraphrased former First Lady Rosalynn Carter when he wrote that …

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