Supported by a grant from Keiro, Los Angeles Holiness Church hosts a caregiver support group for church members. Jaime Nakasuji, Director of Spiritual Community, shared the importance and need for such a group in a speech at the Keiro Grants Luncheon on April 14, 2018. Read the full Grants highlights
Our church is unique in that the congregants are mostly Japanese and many of the families have been there for multiple generations. About two years ago, we realized that there was a growing number of church members who were taking care of their loved ones with health issues. They were experiencing some burn out, but had little or no support for their emotional wellbeing. […] Thankfully, we received the grant which allowed us to meet once a month and share about the struggles and joys of caregiving while sharing a meal together.
[…] During our meetings, we check in with each other on how the loved ones are doing as well as how the caregivers themselves are doing. We validate each other’s experiences, keep each other accountable on our action plans and provide advice and ideas on how to deal with the challenges of caregiving. The other activity that the grant allowed for us to do was to have a weekend retreat. During the retreat, we talked about the importance of self-care and finding balance in our lives. It was a wonderful time to have a break from the daily responsibilities of caregiving and enjoy a time of refreshment. […]
The caregivers have come to really enjoy and appreciate this group and truly find support as they go through this journey of caregiving for their parents or spouse. They are able to share a deeper connection with one another specifically about caregiving and the unique challenges that this brings.
Support group participants also reflected on their experiences:
“I have been very grateful for the caregiver support group at LA Holiness and your generous grant. I have now been caring for my 92 year old Mom for about one year. […] I try to […] help my mom almost every night. It’s been a true joy and honor to take care and spend time with her. But working full time, caring for her and my family (husband and two older kids) I get very tired emotionally and physically. The caregiver support group gives me time and space to share, listen to others’ experience, pray and encourage one another. The special weekend retreat was especially meaningful and enjoyable. I really appreciated the opportunity to get away, enjoy great company, eat well, laugh hard and just rest. I felt so refreshed afterwards which helped me to keep going with all my responsibilities and most importantly be able to continue to love and care for my family. Because of your generosity and support, I can in turn support and care for her my mom in her final years.”
“I believe that hearing our discussions and continually following up on them have been beneficial. They help for better understanding of ourselves and the ones for whom care is provided. We develop empathy and camaraderie amongst everyone in the group, strengthening us to receive support and to move on. They even help with ways to better deal and cope in our respective situations. Our outings and retreats help us to relax and receive enjoyment. Mostly, we have gained gracious acceptance of our time of life where God has placed us. We are privileged indeed.”