What the Bible Says About Taking Care of Elderly Parents
As our parents get older, it’s important to consider how we are going to take care of them. There are many different opinions on what your responsibilities should include when taking care of aging parents. From their health care, to power of attorney designations, financial assistance, and even living arrangements, there are so many decisions to make to help them live their best lives as they age.
But what, as Christians, are we called to do? These several verses from the Bible paint a clear expectation of how we are called to care for our aging loved ones.
9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
In this verse, Jesus is confronting the Pharisees who had been using a loophole in the laws so they would not have to spend their money taking care of their parents. By using this loophole, the person could set a “trust” offering to the church to avoid the responsibility of caring for their parents, and earn interest on their money.
Jesus condemns the act as going against the fifth commandment to “Honor your father and mother.” He claimed they were not only disrespecting their elders, but also denying God’s Word to uphold their own teachings.
1 Timothy 5:8
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Most of 1st Timothy is concerned with creating a respectful attitude towards people in the church, especially widows. The Apostle Paul’s focus in this letter is helping the needy first while shaming and discouraging a lazy mindset.
In 5:8 Paul is illustrating how important it is for adult children to take care of their family members. He drives home his point by saying that even the unbelievers of the time understood the importance of taking care of their own families.
It’s important to know Paul was not calling for one person to be a family caregiver or even a primary caregiver to the whole family. Instead, he points out that it is shameful for a person to outright refuse and deny a family member.
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Several elements to the fifth commandment are worth further exploring. For one, it marks the first commandment on the second tablet. Of all the other commandments that outline the ways we are to engage our fellow man, “Honor your father and your mother,” is at the top of that list.
It’s the only commandment that has a promise included, “that your days may be long.” We are not told how this will come back to us, though—whether in our earthly time or in eternity, it does not specify.
Instead, we have to trust in God. But the point is clear: as parents got older and are no longer able to provide or care for themselves, the responsibility is passed to the children.
In the same way, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. All of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.
During chapter 5, Peter is mainly focusing his instructions to the elders and leaders of the churches. However, in this passage, he turns to the younger generations and tells them to listen to the elders. His point was to caution the younger generations on pride. Peter had seen how pride had destroyed churches and families.
When we look at this verse in the scope of caring for our elders, we can take away a reminder to not let pride get in the way of our duties in supporting and being there for our families.
Conclusions About What the Bible Tells Us
When we look back at these verses as a collection, we see many parallels. From the Pharisees’ pride in their own laws as a way to find loopholes to keep their money, to the urging of Paul to be supportive and caring for each other, we are called to be caring and humble to those in need. And this principle starts with our family.
Our parents sacrifice a lot in raising us, and we are called to return that care and support, especially as they experience the challenges that often accompany aging. It doesn’t mean we have to act as their personal caretakers, or bring ourselves to ruin trying make financial needs.
It simply means we should be there, helping where we can and offering support.
Calvary Homes is Here to Help with Faith-Centered Care
If you’re looking for a Christian retirement community option to help you meet your caregiving obligations toward your loved ones, Calvary Homes is strong choice right here in Lancaster. Our mission is to serve senior adults, enriching their lives in a manner that glorifies our Lord Jesus Christ, while maximizing quality of life.
Get in touch with us today to talk more about our faith-based approach to care and everyday life here at Calvary Homes.