Lessons learned from Walking in the Light - a postscript
January 26 2001 by Luther Osment , (EDITOR'S NOTE - The following is a postscript to Walking In The Light, a collection of letters by Luther Osment to family members and published last year by Baptist Retirement Homes (BRH) of North Carolina. The booklet traces the de

Lessons learned from Walking in the Light - a postscript | Friday, Jan. 26, 2001

Friday, Jan. 26, 2001

Lessons learned from Walking in the Light - a postscript

(EDITOR'S NOTE - The following is a postscript to Walking In The Light, a collection of letters by Luther Osment to family members and published last year by Baptist Retirement Homes (BRH) of North Carolina. The booklet traces the development of dementia in his mother, Kate, who is a resident at the Western North Carolina Baptist Retirement Home in Asheville. The letters cover a nine-year period and include glimpses of her life. Osment is assistant to the president at BRH.)By Luther Osment In relating to a dementia patient, recognize there is nothing shameful or demeaning related to contracting a dementia-related disease. Brains can decline in their power to function just as knees can wear out. There is no more stigma related to one than there is to the other. Dementia simply means that the connectors between brain cells do not connect that well any more. For those who live into their 80s, half will experience a measure of dementia.

Give thanks for the goodness of the past even as you accept the reality of the present. As your loved one quotes a Bible verse she still remembers, which amazes you because she cannot remember your name, you may recall the days she taught Bible verses to you. As she offers to fix lunch for you, even though she would be unable to find her way to the kitchen, you may have memories of how she always had a piece of pie for you, even when there was not one for her. And think back to the warmth and joy you brought to her when you achieved that worthy goal or when you provided that deed of loving service - or even when you came to her with that skinned place on your elbow or on your heart.

You may consider the care you are now providing is "pay-back." In fact you are simply continuing the joy you have been to her through the years.

Look for the happy places in the here and now even as you deal with the hard places. Routines often come to have added meaning. This Friday I will take mother out for a milkshake. So what if we have done this every week for at least five years? It will still be "...the best milkshake I have ever tasted." And so what if she is wearing mismatched shoes and insists that they feel good and she thinks they look good and she rebels at changing? My joy is in the happiness of her heart. Why mess that up to achieve matching shoes? I, too, may choose to wear purple when I grow old.

Seek to use good religion and good sense as you meet the needs of the present, giving quality care to your loved one and quality care to yourself as well. In Mark 6, Jesus strongly condemns those who selfishly deprive the elderly of needed care.

Very likely the parent/child roles have now been reversed. Back then the caring parent did what was wise in relation to the minor child even though the child may not have understood. Now it becomes the responsibility of the child who has become the caring adult to do what is wise in relation to the parent who is now the child - even though the elderly parent may not understand. Be aware that your Lord understands very well.

Seek out and use the professional and supportive resources that are available. The Baptist Retirement Homes professionals who staff the Baptist Elder Care Network hotline can help you identify and locate such resources. The number is (800) 887-7410.

At times, the most loving step to be taken is to secure the services of a quality health care place of residence for your loved one. It is not at all unusual for the older adult to find the quality of life in such a residence to be safe and satisfying and enjoyable far beyond expectations.

Remember that both you and your loved one are still children of the heavenly Father. Commit your loved one and yourself to Him and trust Him to bring good even out of the difficult present circumstances.

It may be that your loved one no longer knows who you are, but you still remember who your loved one is. If this is true in relation to us, how much more is this true in relation to our heavenly Father? Your loved one may have forgotten who God is, but you may be sure God knows your loved one.

This flower from the garden of God's word, spoken to one in a difficult circumstance, says it well. Exodus 33:12 and 14 say, "I know thee by name and thou hast found grace in My sight. My presence shall go with thee and I will give thee rest."

Accept His invitation to cast all of your cares upon Him in the full assurance that He does care for you.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.
1/26/2001 12:00:00 AM by Luther Osment , (EDITOR'S NOTE - The following is a postscript to Walking In The Light, a collection of letters by Luther Osment to family members and published last year by Baptist Retirement Homes (BRH) of North Carolina. The booklet traces the de | with 0 comments
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