As an introduction to this article series addressing caregiving, I want to let you know a little about me. I am the mother of a son with severe Cerebral Palsy who has never walked, barely speaks understandably, and requires total care. While caring for him, my father-in-law passed away, and my mother-in-law came to live with us.

She required lots of care for emotional issues, which was a lot. We had a baby, not quite two, and another daughter, almost 8.

Soon the stress of it all caused my health to crater. I was ill for about six months and needed care for myself. Our son had to leave home overnight. It was to be temporary, but I was never strong enough to care for him again at home.

Within a few years, my father had heart surgery that went wrong, and he became an invalid. I would go back and forth to help my mom (about 14 hours each way).

For the following 25 years, we were blessed to help with their needs.

I wanted you to know this because I have walked in your shoes. Through the years, I have seen people talk about raising kids. Before having kids, you know everything. After you begin your parenthood journey, it dawns on you that you know less than you thought.

In the following lessons about caregiving, there will be articles about the following:

  • Caregiving our parents – prepare for this tim
  • Caregiving parents in mental decline (Alzheimer’s/Dementia)
  • Caregiving special children- part one
  • Caregiving special children – part two
  • Caregiving your spouse.
  • Caregiving in the church. . .what can we do.

If you need to ask questions, we can talk privately.

If several need help with these issues, we can decide if a group meeting would work or how to handle the questions.

Caring for your parents.
Caregiving issues apply to all of us from one time to another. Rosalyn Carter said that we are either caring for someone, being cared for, or we will be cared for. Most middle-aged or older people find their parents in a crisis, and suddenly, many decisions must be made. Estimates are that more than two-thirds of us wait until we must decide before confronting our parents’ desires or needs. By the time there is a crisis, many emotions begin to take a toll on those involved.

Parents do not want to lose control, but they see the situation as someone trying to make their decisions. Many of which they do not agree with. Let’s begin to talk about what options would work best for everyone concerned as soon as possible. I say that because what someone wants might not be possible.


I wrote an article recently for a caregiving site. I offered suggestions about how to talk to your parents about their desires before a crisis. There have been many discussions over the years. A good time to bring it up might be when a friend has gone through a complex illness or death. Each one has lots of challenges to deal with. Your parents do, too.

  • They may remember their relationship with their parents.
  • Your relationships from early years may have been unpleasant.
  • Some families have deep problems they have dealt with that bring a lot of emotions into their future.
  • Parents are only as human as you are. Many mistakes might have been made. Learn to forgive if they hurt you.

Until you forgive them, you will not care for them the best way you can.

The other reason to forgive is for forgiveness from God.

We understand that message from the prayer the Lord taught His disciples to pray.

What to do next

  1. Ask questions about what they would like to do if they cannot take care of themselves. Would they like to be in your home, or if they would rather be in your home? That does not mean it will be possible when the time comes, but if possible, you would like to work out their wishes.
  2. Find out whom they want to be the executor of their will.
  3. You need to know where the will is and any advance directives or decisions they have already made.
  4. Do they have a lockbox? Are papers signed at the bank to allow the person access?
  5. Who has the power to get into their bank accounts?
  6. You need to know where these things are to take care of them.
  7. Who has the Power of Attorney? Someone needs to be able to sign for them.

Help them realize what can happen. Life is uncertain. What if they had a stroke and could not answer questions? You want to let them know your concern is to care for them the best you can. You can ask other questions, but keep it positive and kind. If they are not up to answering these questions, wait a few days or weeks and try again.

What problems might arise?

  • The “children” may work or be retired, but their parents never see them as grown adults.
  • They fail to realize their obligations, their children to care for, and the jobs they need to keep. They may have spouses they need to care for or their own health issues. When that happens, it can bring about a lot of distress, emotions, and unhappy people. Every person involved in this situation needs to be considered.
  • Each sibling needs to contribute to the parent’s care. One might live a long distance and only be there sometimes, but it still should be considered.
  • One may have more money or time. But each child of that parent needs to involve themselves in the care.
  • The Bible teaches us to love and care for one another. Those who do not care for family are worse than an infidel.
  • Love is not the whispered words but the acts of I Corinthians 13:4-8. It is the way we treat one another. It must be in kindness and long-suffering.
  • Sometimes, situations may be challenging, even for Christians. But we are to honor our parents. (Ephesians 6:1-3)
  • The hardest part for caregivers is keeping your health and strength during that time. So, I encourage you to learn that self-care is not selfish but mandatory.
  • If you do not take care of yourself, there will be two of you to care for, or you may pass first.
  • 67% of caregivers die before the one they care for. If you are over 70, it goes up to 70%. These statistics do not scare you but warn you of the need many forget when caring for another.

Caregiving is a time of preparation for our parents’ last journey before judgment. It is time to make amends. It is a time for love.

The following article will discuss parents with memory issues. If you would like to read the article referred to above, go to:

I spent three years interviewing 150 caregivers about lessons they learned that we need to pass on. I wrote “It Takes Courage to be a Caregiver.” and put many tips in it to help families. It is available on Amazon.

Cheryl Ginnings
5005 NW Meadowbrook Dr.
Lawton, OK 73505

Cheryl Ginnings
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Cheryl Ginnings is a minister’s wife, mother of three, sister in Christ, Bible class teacher, retreat, and women’s day speaker for 40 years.

From birth, Cheryl has been part of a minister’s family. Her mother and father were writers of Christian literature for Gospel Advocate. Cheryl married Monte Ginnings while at Oklahoma Christian, and they have just celebrated 57 years. Cheryl has been writing Christian literature since the ’70s.

Cheryl began teaching Bible class teachers while Monte was in graduate school. She has spoken across the country, teaching how to study the Bible, during ladies’ days, and at Christian Universities.

She started a network for women to connect with others and later gave it to Harding University, where it became WINGS.

Their oldest child was born with severe cerebral palsy and has required total care all his life. They are grateful that God has blessed them with wonderful people who have encouraged them and provided care when needed.

During Cheryl’s life, she cared for her mother-in-law and her parents, even when it meant driving across the country. Because of the difficulties and challenges, Cheryl has become an advocate for caregivers and special needs families.

During the past few years, Cheryl hosted a weekly radio program, interviewed 150 caregivers, and wrote a book called It Takes Courage to be a Caregiver, sharing tips and answers to people's problems while caring for others.

She has 133 podcasts called “Courage-2-Overcome,” and the app requested her programs on their app. Her work has provided lots of opportunities to speak out of the country and be part of 16 books with others, and 6 became International Best Selling.

She wrote the book to help people learn the truth about salvation and staying faithful called, “Am I On the Right Road to Heaven?” Her books are on Amazon.

She has been interviewed often about caregiving. She spoke at PTP a few years ago about special needs children and caregiving and how the response the church can make in the families’ lives. She is beginning a new podcast called “Heartfelt Perspectives” to strengthen families.

Recently, Cheryl was at the first World Autism Summit out of Canada, and in November will be part of the World’s Global Summit out of Paris, France. Cheryl is actively writing and speaking to help influence the world for Christ.

It is her desire to be a light in the darkness to impact others for Christ. She has taught how to teach the Bible in many states and many congregations.