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Archive for August, 2018

August Letter

Dear everyone,
Quite often I lunch at dementia care homes where I act as chaplain. This is very convenient, for whilst being on one’s own I do not have to get quite so many meals myself. I was invited in both cases by the staff to go and have lunch with the residents regularly, and I have found it a very rewarding experience as well as convenient one.
One must bear in mind that many residents in these homes do not get many visitors and even those that have very little verbal ability or are in a rather confused state of mind, are pleased to have someone sitting at the same table as themselves who is not a resident. The conversations, brief and confusing as they often are to follow, usually have some grain of thought on which one can build a basic conversation. For many of them it can make their day.
There is another factor however that is very important in these visits. It is the role of the caring staff who have so many things to look after as they look after the needs of the residents. The hot weather of this summer season here has been particularly stressful for these carers who do such a wonderful work. To look after people with dementia makes considerable demands on the inner resilience of these carers. Many of them do it as a calling in life, although they would not describe their role in this way.
I have found myself really enriched by visiting the homes in this way, by both residents and the caring staff. There is a real challenge however for people to go in and spend time with those who need our support and interest whether they are related to us or not. Residents need friendship. Many miss the wider contact with human beings. The question is ‘Are we able to is sharpen their quality of life by our interest and support?
This letter may possibly need a response from someone who is reading it. Even a visit regularly for a few moments might surprise us how effective it can be, but we may also find that some residents have patches of memory which are far sharper than our own!
With all good wishes,
sincerely,
David

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