What can I do for my Dad now that he can't physically make it to church?

A fellow caregiver asked...

My father use to attend services every Sunday. He recently had surgery and is now home, but very weak. My brothers and I have been taking care of him in turns, but I know he wishes he could go to church. Any ideas on what we can do since physically he just can't manage that much moving around and probably won't be able to for awhile?

Expert Answer

Shelly Beach, MRE, is a seminary graduate; instructor at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan; author of seven books; and contributor to The NIV Stewardship Study Bible. She speaks nationally on faith, writing, and caregiving and is a host on the website Help for My Life in roundtable discussions on care issues. Beach's most recent release is Ambushed by Grace: Help and Hope on the Caregiving Journey.

Church and worship are obviously important to your dad, and your sensitivity to his needs is reflected in your desire to honor him by continuing to provide for his spiritual nurture. Church is important for the homebound, and it's important that those who have been involved in church to remain linked to their faith communities. The vitality of faith connections promotes spiritual health, as well as physical recovery and emotional well-being.

You can suggest a variety of faith-based and worship experiences for your father, even though he may be homebound:

"¢ Check to see if your father's church offers online podcasts of services.

"¢ Check on podcast availability for other churches in your area or for the sermons or services of national ministries.

"¢ Offer to sit with your dad through sermons online or on television, especially if he's unfamiliar with computer technology. The shared experience will mean a great deal to him.

"¢ Ask your father's pastor or priest to come by and pray and to offer communion. Again, you may want to make this a shared experience with you and your siblings or several of your father's close friends.

"¢ Check television channels for faith-based programming, as well as radio stations for nationally broadcast sermons and Bible studies.

"¢ Ask a friend or two to begin a Bible study with your father. Nothing is more important than time with family and friends when someone is homebound.

"¢ Check with your father's church to see if Sunday school classes or small groups are available to stop by for visits. Suggest that they spend a brief time of prayer and Scripture reading with your dad.

"¢ Ask friends with musical gifts if they'd be willing to schedule visits for singing and worship with your father or to perform for your father.