Saturday, February 22, 2014

Love for the Elderly

To say I have a stressful job is an understatement. This week has been especially so and harrowing and at times heartbreaking. It ended with great news and a little hope but I question how long it will last. My job is one of the most heartbreaking I've experienced. As an NAC it was hard bonding with and reaching a connection and often times loving amazing beautiful human beings who are closer to the end of their life than the beginning. Losing them is sometimes devastating. But as the Social Worker for the same population sometimes my heart is broken for people who haven't yet passed, who may still have years of life left but they only feel sadness at the thought, people who have lost a loved one but because memory is fickle at this age they ask where their loved one is and wait expectantly for them to show and all that you can do is say "I don't know Mr. or Mrs. when you will see them again, hopefully soon, and if I see them first I will send them your way." 

It is an incredible blessing to be a person such as myself and work with others who are the same, to be a source of love both for and by people who will only be in your life for months or years at best. But imagine having a beloved grandparent and watching as their health declines, their memory fades, and life leaves them...then imagine having that happen with such regularity it just becomes a part of your life. You learn to shed your tears, mourn your loss, and get back to work because there are others who haven't passed yet who need your love, your care, your help. Despite the constant heartbreak you carry on, you keep loving, and you learn the value of family, what it means to respect your elders, and the delicate state of human life.

 What people who do not work in the care of elders industry ought to know is this: Even the strongest most inspiring and larger than life humans (if they live long enough) will become smaller, weaker, vulnerable and in need of assistance and care from someone else. Even if your loved one can not remember your name or that you are their only child (or 3rd or 5th or 11th child) if you continue to visit them and show them your love they will trust that feeling and will know that love until their dying breath. Love them for who they are now as well as who they used to be and if you weren't particularly fond of who they used to be love them anyway now because they do not have much time left in this world and every human no matter how bad deserve to feel the love of someone. Sometimes as people get older and their mind slips away from them they act in ways you have never experienced, the most docile man can become violent and angry, accept that this is not their fault and not always something that can be changed and love them despite this, as a caregiver some of the folks I love the most call me names upon sight of me and will just as soon hit me as smile at me but oh when they chuckle at my lame joke it doesn't even matter that their actions which they can't help anyhow may have been unpleasant or hurtful just 10 minutes ago, for them to have even moments of joy in their life is worth it all. If your loved one is in a care facility in their old age spoil them with the basic having lots of clothes to wear and cute hair ties to wear and a weekly visit that includes a meal means the world to them and provides frequent reminders that someone out there cares enough for them to make sure they look good and feel loved. Most importantly be an advocate for your loved one or family member, there never can be too many advocates and as people get older they need to have someone watching out for their best interest because they often are not able to do so themselves and are at risk of being taken advantage of in so many ways. Life is a circle we start vulnerable and in need of protection and an abundance of love and we all to often end the same way.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Attempt number...I've lost count...meh

We'll start small then see if we can go big. Although I think this has been tried before with failing results. Last time I wrote I was the mother of two beautiful boys and just finishing my NAC. Now I am the mother of 3 beautiful boys and the Director of Social Services at LCCPT. So there you have. Life has a way of going its own way. I'm fairly certain I'm just along for the ride. Although the ride is not always smooth it is always exciting. Join me...if I remember to bring you along that is...