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Dear Friends


Respecting Your
 Independence, Control
and Self-determination

July, 2024

Prayer requests

 Dear Friends,

The Fourth of July is a good reminder to take a look at your care-receiver's right to independence, control, and self-determination. They're issues that can cause some fireworks between you and your loved on any day.

This is an excerpt from our topic and flier on those subjects:

It shouldn’t be a surprise that you and your loved one don’t always agree on what’s best for him or her. No two people agree on everything all the time.

When conflict arises, what can you do? As you make your decisions, it’s helpful if you keep in mind these guidelines:

--Encourage and allow independence.

A part of growing to adulthood is accepting, and sometimes demanding, independence. An illness or mental deterioration can mean the chipping away of that personal freedom. A goal for you as a caregiver is to delay or to minimize that erosion. Your role is to offer assistance that helps your loved one remain as independent as possible.

That means you don't take over tasks or make decisions that person can still handle. For example, don’t dress her in the morning just because it would take you only five minutes but it takes her twenty. Don't decide he needs a lifestyle that is as active as his health will allow when what he really wants is a quieter schedule because he's lived a long and hectic life and now he wants to rest.

--Whenever possible, let your care-receiver be in control.

It's human nature that we want to be in the driver's seat when it comes to our own lives. Giving up control, or having it snatched from us, can make us angry and frightened.

For example, what you may see as a mere detail can be monumental to Dad. Maybe he has always gone to the 8:30 Mass on Sunday morning but now you’re concerned about his getting there on his own. So you unilaterally decide the two of you will go to the 5:00 Mass on Saturday evening and you can’t understand why he’s so upset.

After all, you’re the one making the sacrifice, aren’t you? You’re the one doing him a favor. But from your father’s point of view, you’re trying to ruin his Sunday morning routine. Now he won’t be able to say hello to his fellow "8:30 regulars," the friends and peers he enjoys visiting with each week.

Letting him keep some control might mean mutually agreeing that one or two Sundays each month you take him to the 8:30 on Sunday. Let him pick which Sundays. Likely, after a while, he’ll feel equally comfortable with "the strangers" at the Saturday Mass, too

--Remember each of us has a God-given right to self-determination.

You can read more here or here.

You remain in my prayers,


- - -

Again this week we cordially invite you to join the Friends of St. John the Caregiver! (FSJC's programs include and You can find out more about becoming a member here.

No meetings, no dues. All we ask is that you pray for caregivers and those receiving care. Our members include caregivers, care-receivers, and those who support both (including quite a few former caregivers).

You can:

sign up online here

or call us toll-free at 1-800-392-JOHN (5646)

or print and mail an application form.

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This site is designed for family caregivers..

It's for those who are helping a:

  • spouse
  • aging parent
  • child with special needs
  • sibling with special needs
  • family member or
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Here you'll find spirituality, information and resources for Catholic caregivers.

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Visit our sister sites:

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"The Basics
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USCCBThe Friends of St. John the Caregiver was chosen to be part of the USCCB's 2007-2008 Respect Life Program.