Christians look to the Bible for advice on a number of issues, trusting God’s word above all else. When it comes to how the Christian community should respond to those in need, the Bible is very clear.

In Philippians 2:4, for example, we are told, “Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Galatians 6:2 tells us that we are to bear one another’s burdens if we wish to fulfill the law of Christ. Just a few verses later in Galatians, we’re also reminded that when given the opportunity, we have to do good to all people, and “especially to those who are in the household of the faith.”

Is it any wonder, then, that Christians who are faced with assisting aging parents or relatives feel particularly obligated to serve in that caregiving role? Not only do we see it as our responsibility as their family, but also as fellow Christians. It is a situation that can leave us feeling stressed and worried that we will fall short of both our familial and biblical duties.

Children taking care of aging parents and family members is becoming far more common than it was just a decade ago. It has become so common, in fact, that it has earned its own moniker — the sandwich generation. The name refers to adults who are “sandwiched” between the duties of raising their own children while at the same time caring for aging family members.

Nearly half of all adults between the ages of 40 and 59 have both a parent over the age of 65 and at least one young child, according to the most recent data from the Pew Research Center, which also states that 15 percent of these adults are providing financial assistance to their aging parents, in addition to meeting other care needs.

Being placed in the position of serving as a multigenerational caregiver can be an extremely stressful job. When stress levels remain high — which peaks the amount of cortisone our bodies produce and keeps us in a constant state of “fight or flight” — a number of other health issues can result. Chronic stress is known to suppress the immune system, cause digestive and reproductive system upset and increase your risk of heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure.

Sometimes, part of the caregiving process involves helping a senior parent or relative realize it may be time to downsize from their existing home to a more suitable living environment that can better meet their growing physical, financial and social needs. Adult children of seniors and boomers now are playing a more pronounced role in downsizing by helping their parents navigate through the entire process.

It can be a real challenge to the downsizing process if someone is unable to make the decision for themselves, and the responsibility then shifts to the adult children, who may be close to retirement age themselves. An already challenging situation can become even more stressful for all parties involved if it involves convincing seniors and boomers who are dealing with memory loss issues such as Alzheimer’s and dementia to part with items to which they feel they have a connection.

The Christian community plays a crucial role in assisting the sandwich generation.

As the leaders of their church, pastors often are aware of which congregants may be in the sandwich generation. Providing the sandwich generation with a support system that will meet their spiritual and physical needs is important. They should know they not only have the support of their pastor, but also of their brothers and sisters in Christ.

And this support comes in many forms. While it is always appropriate to keep fellow Christians who are struggling in our prayers, God expects us to also be his hands, and do his work. The sandwich generation may find that because of the need to juggle the requirements of their own children with those of their elderly parents or family members, they have less time to participate in church activities or to serve in official roles within the church. Congregants who are willing can offer to serve as substitute caregivers to allow fellow parishioners the opportunity to attend a church service or special event, or even just to have some time to themselves.

Above all else, let the caregivers in your church know they are not alone. As we are reminded in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The writer, a member of Cathedral Parish in Portland, is the president and founder of the Upside of Downsizing, which helps boomers and seniors simplify their lives by downsizing.