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Posted: November 23, 2006

Spousal Caregiving

A Caregiver's Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Bill Andrew

Despite the trials and tribulations of caring for a loved one, I am sure each of us has many things to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day 2006.

I know that I do. Being a 24-hour-per-day, 7-day-per-week spousal caregiver for my wife of over 55 years, Carol, who is afflicted with late-stage Alzheimer's disease, I have my personal share of daily trials and tribulations. But in spite of the obstacles I face daily, I know that without my faith in God, neither Carol nor I would have survived over 12 years of this "journey of faith."

So on this Thanksgiving Day, let each of us thank God for the support He has provided us -- this is my prayer for you and for all caregivers. Remember, God is with us every step of our personal caregiving "journey," even though we may think that He has forsaken us because of those trials and tribulations that we incur each and every day.

Thank God

Thank God for the many blessings and graces He has bestowed upon you as you make your personal "journey of faith." Without a personal faith in God, I wonder how many of us would be able to provide the quality of care needed by each of our loved ones. God is with each of us throughout this journey -- whenever I personally feel frustrated or impatient with Carol, I ask God for help. Prayer is the most powerful support that we could ask for to help us make this difficult spousal caregiver journey.

Thank God for providing the opportunity to be a caregiver for your loved one. While becoming a caregiver was not something any of us planned, we have had to adapt our lives to that new role. Our God is a merciful God, and this opportunity helps us to learn and live His mercy each and every day. Being a 24/7 caregiver for my wife has forced me to admit to my own mortality; perhaps it has done the same for you. Becoming a caregiver has become a "new reality" for me, and perhaps for you.

Thank God for your personal abilities to be a caregiver for your loved one -- physical, mental, and spiritual -- so you can provide your loved one with quality care. Spousal caregiving can be very stressful for any caregiver, and you need to take care of your personal health so you are there for your loved one when needed. If you are not there to care of your loved one, who will be?

Thank God for understanding family and friends who are there to support you and your loved one. Hopefully, they are there to provide you with respite (relief) from your daily caregiving activities and responsibilities so you have time for yourself to recuperate and regenerate yourself. Support groups are great places to "rub shoulders" with fellow caregivers and gain both knowledge and support.

Thank God for any outside assistance you receive from various agencies and organizations. Perhaps your church also provides this type of assistance. Whatever the source, this assistance allows us to better take care of our loved ones while providing us with some relief from the daily stress and strain of caregiving.

Thank God for the many prayers offered for you and your loved one by family, friends, and others. There is solace in knowing that many people are praying for us, even though we do not know who is praying for us or when that happens. Prayer can be powerful support for your caregiving role -- and for your loved one. And don't forget to pray yourself: in a recent study, more than 90% of family (including spousal) caregivers reported praying about their caregiving. In that same study, 73% of caregivers said that praying helps them cope with their daily caregiving responsibilities.

As a spousal caregiver, I am sure you have many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day:

Take time from your busy day to give thanks to God for His support during this time of "trial and tribulation."

Take time to thank everyone who has provided support for you and your spouse during the past year.

Take time to "count your blessings" during 2006 in spite of the many trials and tribulations that you have undoubtedly encountered.

Remember, God is with you every step of the way on this "journey of faith."

Origin of Thanksgiving Prayer

A Thanksgiving prayer brings to mind a festive table filled with turkey, cranberries, and other traditional dishes. Families gather around the table with mouths watering. Before the turkey is carved, the family joins hands with heads bowed and offer words of thanks for the meal spread before them.

While there is no official "Thanksgiving Day Prayer," prayers of gratitude have been offered since long before the Pilgrims decided to begin with a "prayer of thanks" at the historic feast shared with the Wampanoag Indians. Years later, both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving history with their Thanksgiving proclamations.

The deeply religious Pilgrims looked to the Bible for a way to express their thankfulness for survival and the first harvest. Therein, they found the celebrated Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), or Feast of Ingathering. The ingathering of the Israelites, delivered from the Sinai desert, celebrated this feast at the first harvest and it is the most joyous of all feasts even today (Leviticus 23).

Another reference to giving thanks is found in the account of the "setting" of what Samuel called the "Ebenezer Stone." This was a memorial to remind them to be grateful for God's help during an attack from the Philistines (1 Samuel 7:10-12). Actually, the Bible speaks of giving thanks from cover to cover. For example, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, "No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." Other verses that include thanks can be read in Psalm 100:4, Psalm 105:1 and 1 Corinthians 15:57.

All of the early "thanksgiving" celebrations had one common theme -- GOD! Thanksgiving was directed toward God -- their Creator, their Protector, and their Provider. They believed that all good things came from Him as they do today. Prayers are simply communication with God. Prayers to God can be memorized or formal or simply words spoken sincerely from the heart. God hears and honors all of them.


On the occasion of this Thanksgiving Day 2006, I wish all family caregivers a "Happy Thanksgiving." May God be with you, your loved one, and your family during this festive holiday for giving thanks to God for what He has done for each of us as caregivers.


"I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart…"

Psalm 9:1

Bill Andrew identifies himself as a former “nutritionally-empowered Alzheimer’s caregiver” who attributes the slow-down in progression of Alzheimer’s disease in his wife, Carol – and the growth of his own personal emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual capability and strength to provide quality 24/7 care for her in their own home – to the targeted nutritional supplements they both took on a daily basis. Carol went to her Heavenly reward on June 9, 2008 – Bill continues on to advocate for family caregivers. Contact Bill with your caregiving questions and comments via email at

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