10 Commandments for Caregivers


1. Embrace fully your present reality as a caregiver as the call of God, believing that your caregiving will be ultimately fulfilling for your life.

2. Recognize the face of Jesus in the one who is receiving your care, not allowing the other to live with their grief and pain alone.

3. Be truly aware of the deep and fragile beauty of the person receiving your care, believing that their existence is more important than their accomplishments – their being is more important than their doing.

4. Focus less on the task of caregiving and more on your connection with the person who’s receiving your care, seeing the time together as an opportunity to get to know the care-getter.

5. Be with the other person unhurriedly and gently as a gift, following the other person’s pace and rhythms.

6. Connect with the care-getter’s pain, seeking to feel their powerlessness, loneliness, confusion, anxiety, isolation, fear, depression, shame, sorrow, embarrassment, and sense of being forgotten.

7. Experience the loneliness, resentment, guilt, and shame of caregiving as normal, admitting that you struggle under the weight of seemingly never-ending fatigue, the unavailability or unwillingness of family members to help, the high expectations of others, and the feeling of being overworked.

8. Remember that the care-getter may not always see the care you give as a gift, knowing that your service may not always be appreciated.

9. Allow the care you give to make you better, not bitter, seeing your caregiving as a chance to discover your yet unopened gifts – beauty, tenderness, service, kindness, patience, and compassion.

10. Connect daily with Christ, the loving Source of your true identity – a beloved child of God, believing that His grace will lead you to greater depths of love, joy, peace, and hope.

This post was inspired by Henri Nouwen’s A Spirituality of Caregiving