Thursday, April 29, 2010
Open from 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., weekdays, the Riverside program costs $5 an hour for a “jam-packed” day that includes discussion and reminiscing, chair exercises, sports games — a recent session had seniors playing tabletop bowling — lunch, snacks, bingo and other activities.Since I am sort of living this right now, albeit by long distance, I am compelled to comment.
The focus is on “empowerment,” allowing attendees to engage in supervised activities and tasks that will help them achieve success.
“What we find is they come out of their shells,” Zarb noted. He said sometimes caregivers may strengthen a loved one's feeling of helplessness by constantly diverting their attention and discouraging their participation in simple tasks.
This is an area of ministry that churches should, even MUST, get involved in. The adult day care thing may or may not be the way to go because there are lots of options out there on how to cope with old infirmed parents, and its good to have choices. What is really necessary, and should accompany such an adult day care center, or any other approach, is ministry to the caregivers. e all know its emotionally tough - but note closely the comments about empowerment for the "patient."
Too often we seek to manage our elderly, particularly those with health issues, rather than help them. It is true - there are limits to their capabilities, but they will find happiness from using those capabilities to their fullest.
Most churches work very hard to help people parent, but this is such a neglected area in comparison, and yet the challenges are not at all dissimilar. The only difference seems to be our attitude - children represent potential, and the elder seems to be taking steps to death.
But have you ever considered that we are all on the inevitable road to death from the moment of our birth? For the elderly, they are indeed farther along the road, but it is the same journey, and are they not entitled to the same dignity and worth as anyone else on that journey? Is it not our job to help them find it, as it is with everyone else we encounter in our own journey?
WE need to figure out how to call people to accountability on their attitudes towards the elderly,, and particularity those we are charged with caring for. Too often we view that caregiving as chore, or burden, or adjunct. It's not - it is a charge of God as is any other caregiving situation, child, spouse, whatever. This are not people to be managed.
They are to be loved, even if it hurts becasue of who they used to be. We meet them where they are.