We wake up bright and early – we’re given another day. Well, maybe not so much. For the senior members of our society each new day can be challenging in an unfamiliar way. Over time, seniors either temporarily or permanently…
- are less able to do what they have always enjoyed
- and less able to perform everyday tasks such as laundry, cooking, getting dressed, bathing, using the toilet
- become aware of a decline in, or deterioration of, physical and/or mental capability
- experience a serious deterioration or total loss of one or more sensory faculties of hearing, sight, touch (feeling), motor skills, coordination
- become tired or exhausted more quickly
- are no longer able to drive a car
- are confronted with major surgery or serious medical issues
- lose their spouse (how long has he been the most important person in her life?)
- feel more isolated as their peers with whom they have shared, and experienced understanding, pass away
- are more constrained financially, especially with the cost of health care
- all of which lead to a greater dependency on others, which in turn could lead to a feeling of being a burden
Nature’s forced changes all result in a diminished experience of being in control of her world. For some this can lead to periods of resentment, anger, or even deep depression. Or is this change embraced or enjoyed (in-joy) as an easing from this life to the next? As in Ecclesiastes, is it seen as a time to slow down, of at last being able to take time to smell the roses and to enjoy the young great grand-children?
How do we as care-givers, or simply as the the younger generation, relate with our seniors? Do we support a positive or a negative attitude?
- Do we ask what they want?
- Do we ask for their opinion?
- Do we ask for them to share their story?
- Are they a burden to us? Then do we find an alternative support that honors them?
- Are they an inspiration to us? Do we let him or her know why and how s/he inspires us?
- Is their life a song?
Remember, they are somewhere that we most likely have not been. Can we learn from them while we still can?