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Archive for August, 2018

September letter

September letter.
Dear everyone.
This summer we’ve had some wonderful weather. Long periods of hot sunshine and very little rain, but many people have found the weather rather trying. Most of us obeyed instructions and kept watering gardens to a minimum. The result was that lawns went very brow, in parts looking completely dead. Many were wondering whether they would ever come back to life again.
Then after a long delay it started to rain, and now my lawn is back to three quarters of its natural greenness although it still has some way to go.
I find however that the exceptionally warm weather earlier in August has brought to light some problems that are very common in society today -frequently summed up as part of the ‘blame culture’. Intensely warm conditions have tended to make dementia care patients for instance particularly restless and requiring more help. When there happens to be more than one person requiring help at a time, caring staff cannot be in two places at once; and if there is some mishap how quickly blame can be attached to harassed workers without the complete picture being seen.
Doctors nurses and medical staff, police officers. teachers, social workers and all the caring professions have similar problems. Mentally, physically and emotionally workers can easily become exhausted with their tasks and sometimes even dread having to face up to what lies in front of them because there is too much to cope with at a time.
There are situations of course where there is neglect, but it can be due to the fact that people feel discouraged by the difficulties that they have to face. Jesus said ‘Judge not that you be not judged’ and he reminds us that as we judge other people will be judged ourselves because many judgements have not looked fairly at the whole picture that is faced by those caring for others.
We all have to be extremely careful in any assessment that we make in any situation. There is always a tremendous amount that we do not know. I believe that we all have a ministry towards other people, and it is basically a ministry of encouragement.
Society will be a much happier place when we replace a ‘blame culture’ with an ‘encouragement culture!’
Let us remember in our prayers at this time all who are under great pressure because of their work as well as those who need all the care they can get.
Every blessing,
Sincerely, David

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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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