7 Ways to Deal With Different Ideas About Religious Services

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It's not unusual for caregivers and the loved ones in their care to be on different religious wavelengths. How can you make the worship day a fulfilling and contentious-free one for all?

Honor your loved one's religious choices. Allow him or her to watch religious TV or listen to radio shows, to have a Menorah during the holidays, to be visited by a priest, rabbi, or other clergyperson. Faith, for many, brings comfort. So honor and support what your loved one needs.

Incorporate spirituality into your loved one's care. Sing hymns, read passages from religious texts, make the effort to attend services or have them brought to your loved one -- right through to hospice and the end of life. You don't have to join in, but you should enable; consider it part of your caregiving responsibilities.

Try alternating. Rather than either one of you giving up your faith, try taking turns. One week, go to your services. The next, take your loved one to something more familiar to him or her.

Arrange an escort. If you don't attend services or don't want to alternate, look for a member of your loved one's congregation who may be willing to pick up the person every week. Don't worry about feeling judged by your loved one or the escort -- you're doing something beneficial for your loved one and doing something that's healthful for you, too, by having a break in your caregiving duties.

If you attend the same church, try attending different Sunday school classes. Just because you spend all your time together doesn't mean you need to spend all your time together. The separation can be welcome for each of you.

Invite your loved one to say the blessing at your table. It doesn't matter what denomination or faith those gathered are, and the action may mean a lot to your loved one.

Agree to disagree. If your loved one can't help criticizing your faith practices (or lack thereof), refuse to argue or be cornered into defending your views. Faith is a personal choice, and others' beliefs simply shouldn't be criticized. If needed, use phrases like these: "Thanks for sharing your view." "I'll think about that." Realize that religious conflicts are normal within families. If you weren't disagreeing about religion, you'd probably be disagreeing about something else.

Image by Flickr user naughton321 under an Attribution-Share Alike licensing agreement.


over 4 years ago, said...

Thanks CA-Claire! We appreciate you taking the time to share both comments to help others.


over 4 years ago, said...

Hi Kellygirlaj and DGraab. Thank you so much for your input and perspectives. I agree that not everyone here is Christian, and that is fine (see my earlier post). To remind the Christians here, the very basis of Christianity is freedom to choose. The freedom to choose to follow a commandment and accept the blessings for doing so, the freedom to turn away from commandments requires that we accept the consequences for failure to follow. We are all children of Heavenly Father, and we are all free to choose.


over 4 years ago, said...

I have a client who has Alzheimer's Disease and is very Catholic. I have found that in the afternoon when she is sundowning and confused turning on EWTN-the Catholic Chanel really helps her calm down and reduces some of her anxiety.


over 4 years ago, said...

Thanks Kellygirlaj, for sharing your perspective and personal experience, as well as for your feedback about this article. The Caring.com community includes caregivers across many faiths (including but not limited to those who worship Jesus), and this article takes religious diversity into account with the tips it provides.


over 4 years ago, said...

I disagree with some of this article, and I'll say why. The article says to try alternating. That's not good, and it's a reason why there is so much religious division now. Everybody is entitled to believe as they want to, and no one is going in the same direction, yet they believe that God will accept their worship. Long story short, He won't. It's the last paragraph I take the most issue with. It says a person should "refuse to argue or be cornered into defending your views." Why? Why not be able to defend what you believe in? The apostles did it, Jesus even went so far as to call Pharisees hypocrites to their faces. If you believe strongly, be able to defend it, don't back down. The paragraph also says, "Faith is a personal choice." This is an untrue statement. Faith is not a personal choice, it's a command. Hebrews 11:6 says it's impossible to please God without faith. I also disagree with the statement of religious conflicts. Conflicts are normal within families, because people will argue about anything and everything. Religious conflicts can be avoided if you marry someone who believes as you do. When I got serious about getting married, the first thing on my list was to marry a man who believed exactly as I do, and who was a member of the same church that I'm a member of. That was non-negotiable. You can't expect to get to heaven in two or more different directions. This isn't like going to New York or Los Angeles. Jesus said He is the way, the only one way, to God. Follow Jesus, do what He said to do, like He said to do it, and you'll get there.


over 4 years ago, said...

One of the articles of faith in my Church is: ' 11 We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.' My Father comes to Church with me, as he is Christian, but has not attended Church regularly in years. He has expressed no desire to attend other services, and if he chooses to stay home, I see if there's something else he would rather do, i.e. excursion to San Francisco (50 miles away), or watch a movie, etc.... At times, it's unbelievable how we have to be reminded of the simple things - tolerance and flexibility.


over 4 years ago, said...

Thanks for clarifying estrada1931, We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts on this topic.


over 4 years ago, said...

I am sorry that my message has been miss interpreted. I only wish to hesitate the lack of understanding among those who call themselves christians but fail to apply the most important laws of christianity. I do not see why somebody might feel attacked by hearing the truth. Again I apologize for any misunderstanding, but I believe what I am saying is the real truth. I will never comment again with capital letters.


over 4 years ago, said...

Thank you estrada1931, for sharing your perspective. This article is meant to be helpful to (not to shame) anyone who seeks guidance in addressing this particular challenge in caregiving. We encourage everyone who comments on this article and others on Caring.com to keep in mind this website's Community Code of Conduct: http://www.caring.com/about/community_guidelines.html Differences of opinion are welcome, as long as they're presented respectfully, but personal attacks are not allowed. If you feel these guidelines are not being honored in on-site comments, please contact our team via the Feedback tab (right edge of page), Contact Us link (at bottom of Caring.co pages) or via email to moderators AT Caring.com. Also, one tip for online comments: Writing in all capital letters can be interpreted in online communities as shouting. It is preferred that you not write comments in all caps. Thanks!


over 4 years ago, said...

I AM VERY MUCH DISPLEASED THAT PEOPLE WHO CALL THEMSELVES CHRISTIAN HAVE TO RECEIVE THIS TYPE OF COUNSELING. IT IS SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BE AN AUTOMATIC FEELING IN ONES SELF IF YOU REALLY PRACTICE THE FIRST TWO COMMANDMENTS. BUT I DO NOT BLAME THE INDIVIDUAL, I BLAME THE LEADER OF THEIR RELIGIOUS BELIEF. THOSE CALLED EXPERTS THAT TRY TO EXPLAIN EVERYTHING WHICH IS SO SIMPLE AND COMPREHENSIVE. PETER SAID TO HIS CONGREGATIONS "NOW WHEN YOU GET TO YOUR HOMES, STUDY THE SCRIPTURES TO SEE THAT THESE THINGS ARE CORRECT." NOW A DAYS, PEOPLE SUBSTITUTE THE SCRIPTURES AND THEIR GOD BY A PERSON WHO IS THEIR RELIGIOUS LEADER. THAT IS THE WAY CHRISTIANS BEHAVE, THEY DO NOT NEED TO BE EXPERTS JUST TRUE BELIEVERS IN WHAT THEY ANALYZE THROUGH THE SCRIPTURES. CHRISTIAN IS JUST ONE, NOT MANY WITH DIFFERENT WAYS OF LOOKING AT GOD. WHEN THAT HAPPENS WE ONLY TRY TO SATISFY EGOTISTICALLY OURSELVES.