Understandably, the Covid-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down for everyone. However, it has taken a particularly hard toll on special needs caregivers. Many who have relied on outside help for so long, have now transitioned into the role of primary caregiver. Help from schools, therapists, doctors and home health aren’t as available as they once were, leaving parents to fill all of those needs. I know first-hand that this task is something that special needs parents willingly accept, but nonetheless it has proven to be challenging.
When flying, parents are instructed to place the oxygen masks on themselves first before helping their loved ones. During these unusual times, I think it’s especially important for special needs parents to place their “quarantine masks” on first. It’s easy for caregivers to put their own spiritual and physical well-being on hold when there is so much required of them each day. This is why it is crucial to be intentional and to ensure that those needs are being met. This could be in the form of waking up even 10 minutes before the family gets up to pray or get into the word. It could be stealing a few moments during the kids nap time to soak in a bath and talk to God or to go outside for gardening. It could be journaling at night after the kids go to sleep. It could even mean reminding yourself that you are doing the very best that you can in this rare time of isolation. They key is being intentional about it, knowing that when your physical and spiritual needs are met that you will be able to meet the needs of others better. That sweet time with the Lord, no matter how short, can fill you up so that you can face all of the challenges of the day with God at the forefront.
If you know of a special needs caregiver who has now taken on this full-time role, there are some great ways you can encourage them. Consider reaching out to them by sending an uplifting text or a meal that will brighten their day. Running an errand or picking up groceries can give that caregiver some extra personal time. As you pray for first responders and all of those on the front lines, won’t you consider adding these parents that now find themselves in the role of full-time caregiver of their loved ones?
Special Needs Ministry Director