Recently, when Pope Francis was visiting Brazil, he made a comment to the people saying “Honor your Elders, do not put them away like hanging an old coat in the closet.” Sad to say, many of our elders do feel like they have been put away in a closet.
Imagine how it must feel to have someone take away your driver’s license, and you can no longer get to the grocery store.
Imagine what it must feel like to not have any family where you live, or to have family members who don’t have time for you.
Imagine what it feels like when you have chronic pain and you are told, “It’s just old age.”
Imagine what it is like when you no longer feel like cooking because you don’t like eating alone.
Imagine what it feels like to have to ask for help, when you don’t want to be a burden.
Let’s change that scenario and imagine what it would be like to have a caregiver in that home.
I would like to quote a communication between one of our caregivers and her client. The caregiver e-mailed the out-of town daughter saying,
“Hi, I visited with your Mom on Friday and she is doing very well. I vacuumed the living room while your mom watered her plants. Then we went to Furr’s for lunch. She always enjoys eating there. She had her salad and fruit plate, followed by rice, chicken and cabbage and then we had some ice cream. On our way home we made a small detour so she could show me where she previously lived.” Signed, Kate.
The daughter responded, “ Thank you for your e-mails. I look forward to reading them after your visits on Tuesdays and Fridays. I am delighted that she remembers and could show you where we lived previously. I think she is doing much better now that she is eating more regularly. I am very thankful that you enjoy being with my mom and she speaks so highly of you. You have no idea how much at ease it makes me feel to know that you are looking in on her. Signed: Daughter.
This mother does not feel like she was shut away in a closet.
So ask yourself, could a caregiver honor the life of an elder you may know?
by Jan Schuh, Gerontologist
Co-owner, Companion Care
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