Caring for the Caregiver Part I

05-27-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

For some caregivers, the caregiving journey can become a full-time job. In such situations, caregivers don't often realize the impact that 24/7 caregiving has on their emotional, spiritual and physical health. It is during this time that caregivers need to also take care of themselves, often very difficult with all their caregiving tasks. Yet, there are ways for caregivers to work in self-care and still fulfill their caregiving responsibilities. Over the next few weeks we will look at several ideas that caregivers have shared at caregiver support group meetings.

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Summer Break

05-27-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

I will take a needed rest from writing as I get out into the field for other photo opportunities and reflection. We will resume the Pastor's Desk page in September.

Many of you will also be taking a break from the normal rhythms of the academic year. If and when you prepare for a getaway be sure to plan ahead and see where the best times and places for mass are at www.masstimes.org.

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Anticipation of Mass

05-20-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

I had a little rest after Easter to travel north and visit the Scenic Cathedral Valley, Utah. Some settler with a religious appeal was reminded of some ancient European Gothic Cathedral and the name stuck. I don't know for sure. What was rather restful was the 58 mile off road trek to get there and it took a while to arrive because in most places it was imprudent to drive faster that 15 mph. But the anticipation of seeing the Valley grew at each turn.

It also dawned on me at a brief moment that our desire to see Jesus or to celebrate Mass should be something similar. Preparation does that to us. The better we prepare for any activity, the more fruitful it becomes.

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Caregiver Burn Out

05-20-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

For some caregivers, the caregiving journey can become a full-time job. In such situations, caregivers don't often realize the impact that 24/7 caregiving has on their emotional, spiritual and physical health. It is during this time that caregivers need to also take care of themselves, often very difficult with all their caregiving tasks. Yet, there are ways for caregivers to work in self-care and still fulfill their caregiving responsibilities. Over the next few weeks we will look at several ideas that caregivers have shared at caregiver support group meetings.

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Mothers

05-13-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms of Holy Cross! This was an image I took at the April 6th Family Day here at Holy Cross. The priests offer you a special blessing at the end of Mass this day to prayerfully conserve you in your role as educators of your children, both biological and spiritual. You are traditionally the first educators in the faith. The Church knows the delicate role of service that you provide in the home and may He bestow on you the wisdom to raise God fearing children. Your kids see you in rapport with all members of the family, but especially in your rapport with God.

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Caregiver Action Network (CAN)

05-13-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

Being a caregiver requires a lot of the caregiver. Very few caregivers have the medical knowledge they feel they may need to be an effective caregiver for their loved ones. Questions abound: What do I need to know about the disease my loved one has? How can I best assist my loved one? What should I watch for in my loved one's condition? To where can I turn if I need assistance? One resource that can assist caregivers is the Caregiver Action Network (CAN) website which contains several videos on different diseases in their online caregiver video resource center.

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Humility and Simplicity

05-06-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

If you stand in one place long enough, The Emerald Swallowtail will perch on a daisy to frame a really nice shot. I took this a couple of months ago at the Botanical Garden in Phoenix. I'm not into shooting flowers. I prefer to shoot rodeos and dirt bike races. This quiet pose of nature speaks to me of God in other ways: that He is restful, playful, gentle. After all, it is His handiwork and all the perfections and beauty we see in nature exist first and foremost in God as their Author.

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Caregiver Action Network

05-06-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

Caregiving can be a lonely journey as many caregivers often feel isolated from their family members and friends as their caregiving duties require more and more of their time. Some caregivers find that their journeys have become 24/7 which brings even more isolation. One of the best coping strategies for caregivers is to attend caregivers’ support group meetings on a regular basis which helps combat the feeling of isolation as caregivers discover that they are not alone, that other caregivers have similar experiences and feelings. However, attending a support group may not be an option for those caregivers who are providing round-the-clock care.

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Reassurances

04-29-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Northern New Mexico has an interesting rock formation in the town of Shiprock. Millions of years ago lava spewed to form this one of a kind lava mountain. There are several local legends concerning its ties to the Navajo Peoples: One legend describes how a village existed on the mountain top until lightning devastated the village and ruined the access trails from below. Since that time, climbing the peak is forbidden in order not to disturb the ghosts who still roam the peak.

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Family Caregiver Alliance website

04-29-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

Are you struggling with how to care for your loved one with special medical needs or with trying to follow post-operation/post-hospitalization instructions? Are you wishing you could find a resource that would answer your questions, provide you with tips and even demonstrate how to perform some of the functions that family caregivers are expected to do? If so, check out the Family Caregiver Alliance's website at www.caregiver.org. The website contains an entire section of education for family caregivers. Point to the "Caregiver Education" tab at the top of the home page and view the drop down menu of choices to help you become more educated.

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Periodic Sacrifice

04-22-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Here’s an image I snapped early morning in the Valley of the Gods, Utah. It was early February. The surroundings were dead silent and brought me into this prayerful reflection: Something similar our Lord Jesus walked into when beginning his public ministry and trained his body with 40 days of fasting and prayer.

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Taking Care of a Spouse

04-22-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

Taking care of a loved one is a challenge; taking care of a spouse can be even more challenging. People who care for their spouses often realize that they must shift roles from being a wife or husband to becoming a caregiver. This shift is often accompanied by a transformation of the relationship from one of lovers and partners to that of friends. The love is still there, but it takes on a different form as one spouse suspends his/her life to care for the other spouse. At the point of transformation, many caregivers often experience an emotional roller coaster that includes feelings of loss, depression, frustration, anger and resentment.

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The Young exposed to our Faith

04-15-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

Not a whole lot of years have passed us by since these youthful members of our parish were sitting in the laps of their parents and making all sorts of indiscreet noises from the pews. But now look at them! This image was taken as members of our Holy Cross youth groups finished their yearly retreat in Williams, AZ.

A few parishioners point out that we need a cry room for all the babies. Our present structure won’t allow us to make more space available. So, I will continue to invite the families to come as they are in every size and maturity. Yes, the Church can be noisy at certain masses, but what I hear in those young cries are the newest generation of Catholics being exposed to the faith, hope and love of our parish community as they profess their love for Jesus Christ. A child’s spontaneous cries are summoning you to be examples of devotion. They see what’s going on. Later, they will process what they see and remember from you.

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Home Safety Checklist

04-15-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

Are you facing the reality that your care receiver’s home environment may be unsafe for him/her? Are you unsure of what can be done to improve the home environment or don’t know how to seek assistance in making modifications? If this is your situation, then you may want to check out the FSL (Foundation for Senior Living) Caregiver House which now offers equipment and adaptive aids for purchase. Their new service also includes delivery, set-up and installation of purchased items. If you are not sure of what you need, you can take a tour of the Caregiver House to see a variety of specialized equipment and even receive hands-on training in how to help your loved one use the equipment.

For more information or to set up an appointment, call FSL at 602-297-1856. You can also visit the FSL website at www.fsl.org.

Elder Resource Guide

04-08-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

The caregiving journey can become overwhelming for new caregivers when they realize just how much needs to be done for their loved ones especially when they do not live with their care receivers. How do I find out which health insurance/Medicare benefits my loved one is eligible to receive? How do I arrange for my loved one to receive home-delivered meals? How do I find a caregiver to help my loved one with bathing and dressing? How do I arrange for my loved one to get to doctor appointments?

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The Chaplet of Divine Mercy

04-08-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

At the Riparian Reserve hummingbirds abound. They're hard to catch, not only in a net but on film. As I tried to remain hidden behind the brush waiting for its return, I thought of its incessant activity, always beating its wings, flying to and fro, and never posing on a branch for more than a few seconds. Our fast-paced lives can mimic the life of these flying jewels if we're not too careful. We've got time for everything requiring our business, but no time to rest, and by rest, I mean resting in the Lord through prayer.

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Caregiver's Emergency Card

04-01-2018On the Caregiving Journey…

So you are a caregiver, and you know that you are a caregiver. However, does anyone else know it? What would happen if you were hospitalized for a serious situation and could not communicate? Who would be there to look after your care receiver? Who would know?

While this may be a hypothetical situation, it can easily become reality. Your loved one could be left stranded without any caregiving support if something were to happen to you. This unfortunate situation can be avoided with a very simple and quick solution. Carry a Caregiver's Emergency Card with you at all times. This card will alert emergency personnel that you are a caregiver and will provide the name, address and phone number of your loved one. You can fashion a card for your wallet or you can purchase a set of 10 for $2.00 from the website for caregiver forms. Go to www.caregiverforms.net/2011/06/caregiver-cards.html.

Happy Easter!

04-01-2018The World in View from a Believer’s PerspectiveFr. Larry Merta

To my Parish Family of Holy Cross, I wish you a Happy Easter! May today's celebration of Jesus' definitive victory over the sin and death increase your sense of purpose in this world.

There are a few souls out there sleeping in today, oblivious to the real meaning of our greatest celebration within Catholicism. Should you reach out by phone or home visit to friends and family, have a kind word to say about what your Savior and Lord has done for you. Do try to share this news. Grasping Easter is all about understanding better who we are and why we need God. And once you've done that, take aim at the chocolate bunny ear and celebrate that too.

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