- Hope for Caregivers – Hildra Tague
Dr. Earl E. Shelp provided the kick-off presentation for the caregiver conference entitled Tools for Caregiving, held in The Woodlands, Texas. Christ Church United Methodist hosted the event. So many seniors who care for a spouse or other person look forward to this occasion as a time of respite and renewal to enable them to continue in their challenging roles.
Seniors Hear Introductory Presentation at Caregivers Conference
Dr. Shelp spoke inspiring words for the challenging times in the lives of older adult caregivers. His talk was entitled, “Having Hope in Hard Times.” Dr. Shelp is a scholar in ethics as well as pastoral theology, and has served on the faculty of the Baylor College of Medicine. His goal in recent years has been to do something for the community, and at this event he highlighted the value of hope when hope for older caregivers may be hard to find.
The audience was filled with many older people who came for a day of respite, ideas, and encouragement. Dr. Shelp encouraged them to engage in conversations with other caregivers to learn and share with one another. He reminded all that these caregivers can serve as a great resource for each other. He offered copies of a previous presentation to this group on “A Caregiver’s Journey With Loss” in which he had spoken of losses of customary family roles, control over one’s daily activities, and the especially important loss of companionship that some live with.
Dr. Shelp suggested that “tomorrow is indeed worth seeking” although it will not be without its special challenges. He encouraged those caregivers to have hope for the possibilities of a better tomorrow. The Caregivers Conference offers a chance to learn about resources and methods which will enrich and inform a senior caregiver’s life.
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Ways Hope is Important for Seniors Who are Caregivers
Dr. Shelp presented a number of intriguing facets of hope as experienced by senior caregivers and others:
- Hope as determination to seek a better day.
- Hope as a condition for and characteristic of human existence.
- Hope as the power to step into uncertainty and infuse it with meaning.
- Hope about possibilities – not to be confused with fantasy.
- Hope which is informed by reasonably possible diagnostic directions.
- Hope which enables a senior caregiver to stay the course and persevere in a positive way.
- Hope as why caregiving continues, as it is a profound declaration of hope.
- Hope which counters despair.
- Hope which enables the older adult to see beyond current reality.
- Hope helps to define meaning in life.
- Hope which helps to reinterpret the present with the broader richer scope of a lifetime.
- Hope in order to counter the tendency to reduce a relationship with loved ones.
- Hope that helps transcend the current situation while not denying current challenges.
Dr. Earl Shelp’s opening address at the Caregivers Conference brought his expertise and experience to bear on the topic of hope for the senior caregivers in attendance. Dr. Shelp suggested that hope may bring a different interpretation of hardship as being only one moment in a long-term relationship. He urged listeners to hold the memories of better days while accepting blessings of peace and even gratitude which emerge to comfort now and later.
Attendance at the opening presentation by Dr. Earl E. Shelp on August 28, 2010, at the Caregivers Conference held at Christ Church in The Woodlands, Texas.